Megastorm Slamming US Is No Joke

Holiday travel is disrupted, experts warn of frostbite, and lizards may soon start falling in the South
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2022 8:18 AM CST
Megastorm Slamming US Is No Joke
A Kansas Department of Transportation snowplow is seen on a highway east of Topeka on Thursday.   (Evert Nelson /The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

Temperatures are plummeting rapidly around the nation in what could be one of the coldest Christmases in memory. NBC News reports that 200 million people in the US, or around 60% of the population, have been hit with a weather warning or advisory. The National Weather Service notes that the Arctic front causing the storm system "will continue to produce snow from the Midwest and Ohio Valley through the Great Lakes and interior Northeast into this weekend." The agency adds that "the combination of very cold temperatures and gusty to high winds over much of the central and eastern US will continue dangerous wind chill temperatures behind the sharp cold front," with the potential for flooding in the Northeast. More on this "historic" winter storm:

  • Power outages: NBC reports that electricity has been knocked out for hundreds of thousands of customers around the US, per the site. North Carolina and Connecticut each had at least 100,000 customers without power as of Friday morning.
  • Travel snarls: The extreme conditions are wreaking havoc on air, train, and bus travel as people try to get to their holiday destinations, reports Fox News. Changes and cancellations are rampant nationwide, and at least four fatal car accidents have been logged.
  • South Pole lite? A video courtesy of the Wyoming Highway Patrol shows just how intense things are getting, per WFRV. "Nope, the Trooper didn't make a wrong turn and end up in Antarctica," the patrol wrote Wednesday on Facebook, showing a police vehicle of some sort caught in the blustery weather.

  • Frostbite alert: Experts warn that bare skin exposed to the super-cold temperatures can become frostbitten in just five to 10 minutes. The BBC notes that symptoms start with affected parts feeling cold and painful. Severe cases can lead to amputation.
  • Lots of lizards: The inclement weather may lead to what USA Today calls a "bizarre Christmas scene," though it's not an unfamiliar one. The close-to-freezing temps over the holiday weekend in Florida could cause iguanas to start dropping out of the trees, a phenomenon that takes place whenever the mercury dips too low in the Sunshine State. "Falling iguana" advisories have been unofficially issued by local National Weather Service stations.
  • Relatable reporting: In a bit of levity amid the weather-induced misery is this clip that's gaining traction. It features Mark Woodley, a sports reporter for KWWL out of Waterloo, Iowa, who was apparently dragged against his will to report on the storm. His amusing take as his shift progresses is entertaining the internet. "Can I go back to my regular job?" he pleads at one point.
(More winter weather stories.)

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