(CNN) — A winter storm that has battered much of the United States will move through the Northeast on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction in some states that are not used to such severe weather.
The low-pressure system has had a deadly impact: At least 15 people have died in weather-related car accidents since the cold temperatures began. In Oklahoma alone, 123 people were in the hospital Monday with weather-related injuries.
As snow covers typically temperate states like Texas and Oklahoma and power outages cause misery in Louisiana, about 200 million people remain under some kind of weather-related alert.
The storm is expected to move through the northeast Tuesday night, leaving a trail of heavy snow and ice in its path, CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin said.
Temperatures are expected to rise as it progresses, although record chilly mornings and afternoons will persist through Saturday, Mauldin said. Millions are preparing for freezing temperatures through the end of the week.
But once the low-pressure system leaves states like Texas and Oklahoma, a system that has been dumping cold rainfall on the West Coast is expected to take its place with more winter shenanigans, Maudlin said.
“I am almost certain that we are slowly seeing one of the first billion-dollar weather disasters of 2021,” Mauldin said.
Up to 200 cold temperature records could be broken
Unusually cold temperatures are expected to reach almost every corner of the US.
Seattle has already reported more than 11 inches of snow over the weekend, the most since January 1972. More than 50 inches of snow has fallen in parts of Wyoming in recent days.
A tornado was reported in Brunswick County, North Carolina, and rescue teams were dispatched to search for missing persons, according to the Wilmington Fire Department.
Dangerous cold wind gusts have been recorded in eastern Colorado and western Kansas, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo, Colorado. Cold wind gusts ranging from minus 42 degrees Fahrenheit near Yuma, Colorado, to minus 25 degrees near Norton, Kansas, were recorded Sunday night.
More than 6 inches of snow has fallen from East Texas to Ohio, and some areas have accumulated more than a foot. Heavy snowfall could reach areas of Lake Erie and Ontario when the system leaves New England through Tuesday night.
By then, there is a chance that nearly 200 cold temperature records have been broken.
Oklahoma City has gone a record five days without rising more than 20 degrees; They are not expected to rise above that temperature until Thursday, for a period of nine days.
“This cold snap is forecast to result in record low temperatures that are comparable to the historic cold waves of February 1899 and 1905,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
No electricity or water
Low temperatures have frozen or overloaded the work of energy sources, leaving nearly 5 million people in the dark until early Tuesday morning.
Affected customers are primarily in Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, according to Poweroutage.US.
Although continued power outages are not planned for Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards said they could occur if power generation cannot meet demand. Edwards said this will be the coldest weather Louisiana has experienced in decades, and that about 125,000 homes have lost power, some for more than 12 hours.
In Abilene, Texas, the approximately 123,000 residents are also without water due to power outages. All three of the city’s water treatment plants had to shut down when both of their power sources were shut off, according to a statement from the City of Abilene.
“It is not known exactly when power and subsequent water service will be returned to Abilene customers,” the city said.
‘Roads are covered faster than we can clear them’
While waiting for power to return, many officials have warned residents that now is not the time to be on the road.
Since Sunday, the Mississippi Highway Patrol said it has investigated more than 400 weather-related traffic incidents.
All but eight counties in the state have reported ice on roads and bridges, according to a tweet from the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
And while officials are moving quickly to clear the roads in Illinois, they are still “an absolute disaster everywhere,” the Illinois Department of Transportation said in a tweet Monday.
“Heavy snowfall rates combined with blowing snow means roads are covered faster than we can clear them,” the department tweeted.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism