ANOTHER huge winter storm has made its way across the country and is now tracking eastward into the Northeast, sparking fears of power outages due to icy conditions.
Winter Storm Oaklee was expected to bring snow, ice, and freezing rain from parts of the West all the way to the Northeast, according to the Weather Channel.
Much of Massachusetts is under a winter storm warning with as much as a foot of snow expected to fall Friday, according to Mass Live.
Warnings were also put into place that same day for parts of New York including in Dutchess County, Ulster County, and Sullivan County, FOX5 reported.
Although roads could be slick in the Tri-State region, the precipitation should transition to rain in the immediate New York City area by midday Friday, the Weather Channel reported.
Plus, some districts in North Texas canceled classes on Thursday as the area was under a winter storm warning, including cities like Dallas and Fort Worth, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Read our Winter Storm Oaklee path tracker for the latest news and updates…
Why did the US start naming storms?
Tropical storms and hurricanes were tracked by year and the order they occurred until the early 1950s.
However, over time, it was discovered that distinctive names would be needed to reduce confusion and streamline communications when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time.
That came after storm advisories broadcast from radio stations were mistaken for warnings concerning an entirely different storm located hundreds of miles away.
Stunning drone footage
The Weather Channel shared stunning drone footage of a snow-covered road after the storm made its way over Arkansas.
Big, ‘fat’ snowflakes
Weather Channel correspondent Justin Michaels shared a slow-motion video of snow falling in Albany on Friday.
“Big, fat #snowflakes make for a great snow #slomo in Albany, NY ❄️ @weatherchannel continues live coverage of winter storm #Oaklee 🥶,” he tweeted.
The Weather Channel chooses names for snowstorms, and explained the process on its website.
“The names will be used in alphabetical order to identify winter storms that meet objective naming criteria based on National Weather Service winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings and ice storm warnings,” the outlet noted.
Who names snowstorms?
The Weather Channel names snowstorms.
The outlet noted that the 2021-22 season is the 10th season The Weather Channel will be naming winter storms.
How to prepare for a winter storm
Per Ready.gov, the best way to prepare for a winter storm is by doing the following:
- Make an emergency supply kit. Cleaning tools, two masks per person to avoid the spread of Covid-19, and non-perishable meals that can last many days or weeks in case you have to stay at home should all be included in your box.
- Make a communication strategy for your family.
- Assist parents with sprinkling sidewalks and pathways with rock salt, sand, or kitty litter. This aids in making them less slick.
- Make sure you’re dressed warmly and have enough of blankets on hand.
- Bring your dogs inside with you. They can also be harmed by the cold.
How winter storms cause deaths
Most who die from winter storms are not killed by the weather itself.
A majority of the deaths are traffic accidents on icy roads.
Some also die from heart attacks while shoveling snow, and hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold weather.
Winter storm names
These are the names the Weather Channel chose for winter storms during the 2021 to 2022 season:
How much ice should you expect?
Ice will accumulate in slicken driving in areas stretching from central and northern Texas to the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic states, per the Weather Channel.
Precipitation may shift to rain before finishing in certain sections of the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic, reducing the risk of ice accumulation.
From far north-central Texas through eastern and southeastern Oklahoma, into northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, ice accumulations may affect electricity.
In the areas indicated in the “medium threat” on the map, from north Texas across the Ohio Valley to Pennsylvania, at least some tree damage and scattered power outages are expected.
How much snow should you expect?
According to the Weather Channel, Oaklee will produce at least a foot of snow over parts of the central and southern Rockies.
Oaklee will bring light to moderate snowfall accumulations to areas from central Oklahoma to southern and central Missouri, the northern Ohio Valley, and the southern Great Lakes.
From northern Pennsylvania through New York state and New England, heavier totals of at least 6 inches are expected.
It’s possible that a foot of snow may fall in some of these places, per the Weather Channel.
Oaklee on Friday
On Friday, according to the Weather Channel, the Northeast will be free of ice.
For the time being, the heaviest snowfall is forecast in far northern Pennsylvania, much of New York state, and eastern New England.
On the southern edge of the wintry mix, sleet or freezing rain will fall.
In the immediate New York City metro area, Friday’s precipitation is expected to be entirely rain. Parts of coastal southern New England may also get a wintry mix or showers.
The effects of Oaklee so far, conclusion
This resulted in the shutdown of Interstate 5 via Grapevine, the key route from Los Angeles to the Central Valley, for many hours on Wednesday, the Weather Channel reported.
Parts of the Southwest and the Rockies were also battered by heavy snow.
Up to a foot of snow had accumulated in Flagstaff, Arizona, and flakes of snow could be seen between 2,500 and 3,000 feet elevation on the north side of Scottsdale.
The effects of Oaklee so far, continued
In the West, Oaklee was the coldest storm of the year in Southern California, according to the Weather Channel.
A dusting to an inch of snow was reported at 3,000 feet elevation near Beaumont and Yucaipa, about 70 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
From eight to 14 inches of snow fell in the mountains from Lake Arrowhead to Big Bear to Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain.
The effects of Oaklee so far
According to the Weather Channel, sleet, freezing rain, and freezing drizzle began over Texas on Wednesday and moved into Oklahoma, Arkansas, and southern Missouri.
Sleet accumulations of one to two inches were reported in McAlester and Norman, Oklahoma; Ft. Smith, Arkansas; and Branson, Missouri on Wednesday.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, accumulated precipitation made highways treacherous, while in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro region, freezing drizzle made bridges and overpasses hazardous.
Storm causes outages
As of Thursday morning, thousands of homes and businesses in northeast Arkansas and west Tennessee were likely without power due to the ice.
In certain sections of the region, ice accumulations of over a third of an inch thick have been observed, causing tree damage.
Oaklee tracks toward the east
Sleet and freezing rain have been reported from as far south as central Texas through central and eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri, and sections of the Ohio Valley since Wednesday morning.
As it moves eastward through Friday, the system will continue to spread its winter mix of snow and ice from the Southern Plains into the Midwest and Northeast, per the Weather Channel.
Roads reopen in SoCal
According to the California Department of Transportation, a section of Interstate 5 known as the Grapevine in Kern County was open as of 6.30am local time.
It was closed due to weather on Wednesday, which isn’t uncommon for that section of road, according to the Weather Channel.
Flights cancelations continue
For the second day in a row, flight cancelations piled up at Dallas-Fort Worth (DWF) International Airport and adjacent Love Field in Texas.
According to airline tracker FlightAware.com, DFW had over 1,100 cancellations as of around 11 am local time.
There were slightly over 200 people at Love Field.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, over 100 flights were canceled, while at St. Louis Lambert Airport, about 80 were canceled.
Thousands without electricity
According to PowerOutage.us, there were more than 32,000 power outages in Arkansas and roughly 15,000 in Tennessee as of 11am local time.
Numerous crashes on Kentucky bridge
According to the Weather Channel, the 18-month-old was killed in a sequence of incidents involving 12 tractor-trailers and six-passenger vehicles late Wednesday.
The boy was unsecured and flung from one of the damaged automobiles, where he was subsequently struck by a car.
The Kentucky State Police are looking into the matter.
Child dies in Kentucky due to crash
As a winter storm left a path of snow, ice, and sleet on its eastward march, an 18-month-old infant was killed in a sequence of collisions on an icy Kentucky bridge Wednesday, The Weather Channel reported.
According to Kentucky State Police, the collisions occurred on the Tennessee River Bridge on Interstate 24 in Marshall County.
Oaklee on Wednesday, part three
Through the midnight hours, icy or snowy travel affected areas from northern and central Texas through Oklahoma, northern and central Arkansas, central and southern Missouri, and the lower Ohio valley.
Oaklee on Wednesday, continued
Snow was forecast in sections of northern Arizona, Utah, and Colorado’s mountains, per the Weather Channel.
Lower elevations from California to southern Arizona were dampened by rain showers.
Some of the rains were accompanied by lightning and tiny hail or graupel, which might cause some regions to flood.
On Wednesday, the storm moved towards the central United States.
Oaklee on Wednesday
On Wednesday, Oaklee brought snow to California’s higher altitudes as well as the southern and central Rockies.
This is Southern California’s coldest storm of the year, with snowfall possible at elevations as low as 1,500 feet.
This caused considerable traffic congestion in the high country of Southern California, including the Grapevine, Interstate 15 north of the Inland Empire, and Interstate 8 through the San Diego County mountains, according to the Weather Channel.
Winter storm watches due to Oaklee
From upstate New York through most of New England, including Boston, Hartford, Albany, and Portland, Maine, winter storm watches have been issued.
Snow and/or ice will cause the worst conditions, particularly risky travel, in regions under winter storm warnings and watches.