Winter storm Olive hit the United States on Thursday with heavy snowfall, blizzard conditions and a significant amount of ice.
But the country was a landscape of climatic extremes: As deep arctic air dropped temperatures as much as 30 to 40 degrees below average in parts of the west and the plains, the United States also experienced their first 100 degree day in 2023.
Falcon Lake in Texas hit 100F on Wednesday as temperature records were broken in the southwest.
Nearly a million people were left without power Thursday morning, with Michigan the hardest-hit state. More than 1,400 flights have been canceled and hundreds delayed.
By Friday, the threat of heavy snowfall is expected to center in California. The mountains of Southern California are under a rare blizzard warning, with over 100 inches forecast at Mount Baldy Ski Resort in the Angeles National Forest.
California will have a rare blizzard
In California, a rare blizzard warning was issued for mountains in Los Angeles County and Ventura County from early Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, California can expect even more rainfall after being inundated by a flurry of atmospheric rivers earlier this year.
Moderate, but heavy in some places, rainfall and thunderstorms are expected in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday before moving south and settling over California on Thursday.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 3:33 p.m.
Twin cities will be hit by a historic storm
In the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, the first set of wintry conditions brought three to five inches of snow to the region. Showers will intensify by Wednesday afternoon, NWS reported.
February’s record of 13.8 inches of snow from a single storm in Minneapolis “is likely to be broken”, reported AccuWeather meteorologist Matt Benz.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 3:37 p.m.
Flight cancellations are piling up at US airports
Travel problems were starting to pile up at US airports on Wednesday morning as extreme weather conditions set in.
More than 1,000 flights had been canceled in the United States and around 1,000 others delayed, according to FlightAware.
The most affected airports were in Minneapolis-St Paul, Denver and Detroit.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 3:53 p.m.
St Paul sees dangerous whiteout conditions
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 4:07 p.m.
As the Midwest shivers, record heat in Florida
As temperatures fell in the northern half of the United States further south on Wednesday, daily high temperature records were tied or broken.
In Marathon, Fla., the daily high temperature record was tied for the second day in a row as the city hit 86F on Tuesday.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 4:18 p.m.
Closed businesses, schools and closed roads
Many schools in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin were closed Wednesday, before the storm, The Associated Press reports.
Offices closed, as did the Minnesota Legislature. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem closed state executive branch offices in several parts of the state and employees were working remotely.
In Wyoming, virtually all roads were affected and many were closed. Officials have warned they could stay that way for days.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 4:33 p.m.
Watch: Weather forecast as a coast-to-coast storm hits the United States
Weather forecast for Wednesday, February 22
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 4:52 p.m.
Winter weather makes traveling in Arizona dangerous
Arizona residents were strongly advised against driving on Wednesday by the state Department of Transportation as they shared photos of whiteout conditions caused by the storm.
Crews were clearing downed trees from Arizona 260, a scenic route running east to west through the center of the state.
“If you do decide to travel, be prepared for long delays due to impassable roads,” the Transportation Department tweeted.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 5:10 p.m.
North of the border, more winter storm warnings
North of the border, Canadians were also receiving warnings of severe winter weather conditions caused by the Arctic Blast.
Toronto was under a winter storm warning on Wednesday with up to 12 inches of snow possible in the Ontario city by Thursday evening, TVC reported.
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 5:31 p.m.
Three dead in Cascade Mountains avalanche as heavy snow blocks rescuers
Heavy snowfall and strong winds on Tuesday kept searchers away from a remote, jagged peak in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, where an avalanche killed three climbers in the northeastern United States over the weekend .
The slide struck on Sunday as a group of six climbers ascended a steep, snow-covered ravine on 8,705-foot Colchuck Peak, about 70 miles east of Seattle in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, Sheriff Sgt. of Chelan County. Jason Reinfeld said on Tuesday.
Four of the climbers were swept about 500 feet down the slope. One of the four survived, a 56-year-old man from New York, and despite some injuries he was able to confirm the other three were killed before returning to their base camp in Colchuck Lake, Mr Reinfeld said .
Louise BoyleFebruary 22, 2023 5:49 p.m.