The busiest winter weather pattern in decades brought a slew of impacts across a large swath of the United States over the holiday weekend. Massive power outages and slippery travel were reported from the West to the East Coast, as multiple storms unleashed snow and ice.
On Sunday, power outages totaled nearly 700,000 in six states: 228,510 in Oregon, 216,190 in Virginia, 64,837 in North Carolina, 61,908 in Texas, 15,066 in West Virginia and 14,246 in Kentuky, according to Poweroutages.us.
Power outages approached 1 million on Saturday.
A major snowstorm struck downtown Seattle, where snow piled up to 6 inches in some locations early Saturday. Plows hit the roads as cars and busses struggled up steep hills on snowy, slippery roads.
By Saturday evening, the total in Seattle reached 9 inches in some locations. Some places in Oregon, including Mount Hood and Zigzag, reported 2 feet of snow.
The path of snow extended from the westernmost parts of Washington and Oregon, down to northern New Mexico, all the way to Michigan. Parts of Michigan received over 20 inches of snow by Saturday evening. The southernmost parts of Wyoming also received snow in the double digits, even surpassing 30 inches at some points.
Daily record snowfall totals were observed in Seattle and Portland, Ore., on Saturday. Seattle recorded 8.9 inches of snow, which tied a record for the 12th snowiest day on record.
While snow spread across the country, ice began to coat the roads in Nashville, Tenn. The Nashville Fire Department sent multiple resources to assist with a multiple vehicle accident that were involved on I-24. Emergency responders asked for people to please avoid the area, or use extreme caution if travel is a must.
The entire states of Oklahoma and Texas were under winter weather alerts Saturday. A winter storm watch was issued in Brownsville, which is the first winter storm watch the town has seen in a decade.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the storm will be “unprecedented in Texas history,” KWTX reported. He also said the Texas Department of Transportation is “working around the clock” to make sure any potential issues are addressed.
|Winter storm alerts on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Image via the National Weather Service|
Gov. Abbott issued a state of emergency across the entire state ahead of the arrival of the storm, and has requested a federal emergency declaration from the White House in order to make additional resources available for communities impacted by this weather event.
Some warned that rolling blackouts were possible in Texas, as the state braced for record electricity usage.
“Every part of the state will face freezing conditions over the coming days, and I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather that is coming,” said Governor Abbott.
Las Vegas also received its fair share of severe weather. On Saturday, the National Weather Service reported that winds reached 73 mph at the airport in northern Las Vegas, just shy of category 1 hurricane-strength wind speeds.
The NWS warned people in the area to stay inside and for drivers moving through to remain on alert. A severe thunderstorm warning was also in effect for parts of the county.
NV Energy, an energy provider in Nevada, also reminded people to avoid downed power lines as they could be energized.