A brutal winter storm was marching toward the nation’s interior Monday after smashing parts of Southern California with more than 7 inches of rain and blasting the Golden State’s mountains with up to 5 feet of snow.
Almost 15 million people in more than a dozen states faced foul weather warnings or watches Monday. Blizzard or winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.
“Heavy precipitation and strong winds continue across the western region” as the storm continues to track inland, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warned.
More than 6,000 U.S. flights were delayed Sunday, and over 1,100 more had been delayed or canceled by 9:30 a.m. Monday.
AccuWeather forecasters say over a foot of snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions are expected in the northern Plains to start this week before potentially dumping substantial amounts of snow in portions of the Midwest.
States that won’t see snow won’t be in the clear as violent thunderstorms could bring hail, wind gusts of up to 80 mph and even tornadoes, Accuweather warned. Across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas a “significant risk” to lives and property is expected to unfold late Monday and Tuesday, AccuWeather said.
The dangerous system could then target cities from Springfield, Missouri, and Little Rock, Arkansas, south to Houston and New Orleans.
More than 5 feet of snow was expected in parts of the Sierra Nevada, according to the weather service’s prediction center. The Greater Lake Tahoe saw a peak of 48 inches of snow over the weekend, the weather service said.
In San Luis Obispo County, roads were flooded and strong winds with gusts up to 80 mph brought down power lines, the weather service said. Nearly 30,000 customers in the county were without power Saturday night, according to PG&E.
Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties were swamped with more than 7 inches of rain, the weather service said.
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The same storm system is predicted to develop into a winter storm from the Plains to the Midwest by Wednesday, according to AccuWeather. At the start of the week, the northern Plains is expected to face over a foot of snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions, AccuWeather said. As the storm rolls into the east, the Midwest will likely see a substantial amount of snow.
“Blizzard conditions possible (for) portions of northeast Colorado late Monday night – Tuesday night,” the weather service’s Boulder office tweeted. “Significant travel impacts, whiteouts, road closures & harsh livestock conditions will be possible.”
Severe thunderstorms will strike the South midweek, according to AccuWeather.
The predicted thunderstorms could also produce isolated tornadoes, hail and damaging wind gusts of up to 80 mph, AccuWeather said. As the thunderstorms begin to unfold in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas over the week, forecasters warned of significant risk to lives and property. Some of the same cities and towns at risk for the severe thunderstorms were recently hit by a deadly tornado outbreak at the end of November.
“The drastic contrast of the warm, humid air ahead of the storm and the cold, dry air following the storm will create the right atmospheric conditions for an eruption of severe weather,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.
Contributing: The Associated Press