(NBC) (02/14/21)— More than 160 million Americans were under winter weather alerts Sunday as storms on both coasts spanned the country, bringing record snow and temperatures to states that usually don’t get such bitter cold.
A storm system in the Southern Plains is traveling up the Northeast, bringing heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Texas and Oklahoma were in states of emergency Sunday as Dallas braced for up to half a foot of snow, while parts of Oklahoma might get as much as a foot. San Antonio; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; and Little Rock, Arkansas, should expect unusually heavy snow, the National Weather Service said.
More than 70,000 people in Texas were without power on Sunday, according to the site poweroutage.us. In Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a disaster declaration freeing up resources for emergency management officials.
“This is the beginning of an incredibly challenging few days for our region,” she said.
In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency for 28 of the state’s 67 counties, NBC affiliate WVTM reported.
The multiday winter storm will begin to travel northeast Sunday into the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys, bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain, the weather service said. Freezing rain could fall as far south as Louisiana and the southernmost tip of Texas.
“Every part of Texas will face freezing conditions,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, adding that the state Transportation Department is working at all hours to try to make conditions as safe as possible. “What becomes frozen will remain frozen for a long period of time.”
Ice from the system that will stretch from the Midwest to the Northeast could make travel hazardous.
The Southern Plains storm will last through Tuesday, ultimately finding its way to Maine after going through western Pennsylvania and much of New York, forecasters predicted.
Many West Coasters were hunkering down, too, as a Northwest storm system brought heavy snow to Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
Heavy snow had already accumulated in Idaho, too, with up to 18 inches in some mountainous areas. Heavy snow is possible in parts of Nevada, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, as well.
In the Southwest on Sunday, blizzard conditions hit Albuquerque, New Mexico, where light snow combined with strong winds up to 60 mph as all of New Mexico remained under some kind of winter weather warning.