Reports say that lashing winds, snowing and rain is expected. A considerable drop in temperature is also expected. A fierce storm coupled with freezing rain is predicted in 25 states spanning North Dakota and Colorado down to New Mexico, then up through Texas, Kansas and Missouri to the Great Lakes region and across Pennsylvania to New England.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has asked residents to brace themselves for the climatic fury that threatens to cut power supply and uproot trees. "A storm of this size and scope needs to be taken seriously," said FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, who warned that "it's critical that the public does its part to get ready."
Special attention was offered to the elderly residents and school children. Schools and government offices remained closed on Monday, Jan 31 due to heavy and freezing rains. Airlines were also affected with delays and cancellations.
The storm is going to gain steam today (Feb 1) as moisture accumulated from the Gulf of Mexico will add on to the already inclement weather. Strong winds and heavy snowing is expected leading to drifts as high as six to eight feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters), making travel impossible.
"Lurking behind this impressive winter storm is a powerful shot of Arctic air as a frigid surface high drops down from central Canada," the National Weather Service warned. Wind chills are estimated to drop to 30 to 50 below in Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Kansas, Idaho and even parts of Texas.
Officials have issued a warning to all residents and requested them not to venture out in what they call a crippling and potentially record-breaking storm. "It doesn't take a whole lot to make everything slick and if roads aren't treated they're going to get icy and then it's going to snow on top of that, which is going to make matters worse because you can't see the ice," Pat Slattery, a spokesman for the weather service said.
(With inputs from agencies)