- 4:01 ET, Feb 26 2022
- Updated: 4:01 ET, Feb 26 2022
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.
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…
Hypothermia is a condition in which the body temperature is abnormally low. A temperature of fewer than 95 degrees is considered an emergency.
The symptoms of hypothermia, per Ready.gov, are:
- Shivering, tiredness, disorientation, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or sleepiness are all symptoms to look out for.
- Go to a warm room as soon as possible. The chest, neck, head, and groin should all be warmed initially. Keep your head and neck warm and dry by wrapping them in warm blankets.
Always be prepared
- Make a car-specific emergency supplies kit
- Jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothing, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable food are all good to have on hand
- Keep a full tank of petrol in your car.
What are winter storms?
Winter storms, like other forms of storms, begin with wet air ascending into the atmosphere.
At a cold front, rising air occurs when warm air is elevated above cold air, which is essential for cloud formation and precipitation.
As air flows up a huge hill or mountain, it may also rise.
Why did the US start naming storms, continued
Established by the World Meteorological Organization, a list of names are now used to identify Atlantic hurricanes on a six-year rotation.
The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm is considered inappropriate.
In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in a season, a supplemental list of names are used.
As for winter storms, The Weather Channel has been naming winter storms since the 2012-2013 winter season.
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.
Cars may not offer refuge
Finally, although it may function as a temporary shelter from a winter storm, you should avoid waiting out winter conditions in your car, the video revealed.
“Sheltering in a trapped vehicle can be dangerous,” experts at The Weather Channel explained.
A car’s metal frame creates “a very frigid situation,” and regulating temperature inside the car can be tricky.
Plus, running your engine may not be a safe solution, either.
“Only do so if you know that you can keep the exhaust pipe clear,” The Weather Channel’s winter safety video explained.
“Snow and slush buildup around the pipe can block the exhaust and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Warm up slowly
Although it may be tempting to hop into a hot bath, sauna, or jacuzzi after coming in from the cold, you may be putting yourself at risk.
“Exposure to intense heat is not a way to treat hypothermia,” The Weather Channel video warned.
“If you soak in a jacuzzi it can be very painful for your skin, and even cause a heart attack.”
Try heating up after extreme cold exposure by applying warm washcloths to the body, or using strategically-placed hot water bottles.
“Alcohol doesn’t actually make you warm,” The Weather Channel noted in the video.
“It can cause you to feel warm by moving blood to the top of the skin, but taking that heat away from your core can be dangerous,” the experts at the channel explained.
Swap your alcoholic beverage for hot chocolate, which has more calories–essential for keeping your body healthy in chilly conditions–and will help raise your body temperature.
Drink lots of water
Drinking water in the winter is vital to your safety, The Weather Channel explained in the video.
“You can still get dehydrated in the winter,” the outlet warned, but you’re less likely to realize it.
Dry winter air makes sweat evaporate more quickly, so you may not realize the severity of dehydration as quickly as you might in the summer months.
“Drink more water, especially when exercising outside,” The Weather Channel advised.
Be gentle with frostbitten skin
In the video from January, The Weather Channel explained why you shouldn’t rub frostbitten skin to warm it up.
“Your first instinct may be to rub your hands together to cause friction, but fight the urge,” the video advised.
Tiny ice crystals on your skin may tear and rip at the soft tissue, causing more damage.
The safer way to warm up is by gradually heating your skin, ideally using warm water.
Staying safe in winter weather
In a video posted to Twitter in January, The Weather Channel shared five tips for staying safe in winter weather.
- Don’t rub frostbitten skin
- Drink water
- Skip the booze
- Warm up slowly
- Vehicles may not be safe refuge
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.
What was the name of the last winter storm?
The last major winter storm in the United States was named Winter Storm Nancy.
Winter Storm Nancy is causing severe weather in regions of Montana and Wyoming, as well as the Great Lakes and far northern New England, according to the National Weather Service.
Speed limits reduced in Pennsylvania
PennDOT is temporarily lowering the speed limit on numerous routes in the region due to the severity of the winter storm.
PennDOT is advising travelers to avoid needless travel, but those who must drive will find that speeds on the following roadways will be limited to 45 mph:
- From exit 97/Brockway-DuBois on Interstate 80 to mile marker 194 at the Clinton/Union county boundary.
- Route 322 in Centre County, from Potters Mills to the Juniata County boundary, runs parallel to Interstate 99.
Oaklee leaving ice behind
Users on Twitter are pointing out how icy Winter Storm Oaklee left their roads.
Someone noted that “parking lots are a lot like ice skating rinks” in Oklahoma.
Baby dies in car on Kentucky bridge
As a devastating winter storm wreaked havoc throughout the country, leaving a path of snow, ice, and sleet as it marched east, a 19-month-old baby died following a series of collisions on an icy Kentucky bridge.
A teenager, Brandon Burkhalter, 19, also died after the car in which he was a passenger was struck by a tree.
Power outages in the East Coast
According to PowerOutage.us, more than 70,000 households and businesses were without power across four states as of 10am EST.
The largest number was 27,000 in Arkansas, which has had around the same amount since Thursday evening, primarily in the eastern section of the state where ice has been a problem.
In Pennsylvania, around 17,000 power outages were recorded, 16,000 in Ohio, and 10,000 in Maryland, according to the Weather Channel.
East Coast Airport flights canceled
As of 10.15am EST, 525 flights into or out of Boston Logan International Airport were canceled, according to airline tracker FlightAware.com.
At Newark Liberty, almost 200 flights were canceled, more than 150 at LaGuardia, and more than 100 at Reagan National.
Before traveling to the airport, travelers should verify with their airline, per the Weather Channel.
New Yorkers encouraged to avoid roads
The New York State Thruway Authority posted a notification to Twitter asking citizens to avoid taking the roads due to the aftermath of the storm.
They wrote: “Please avoid travel until later today but if you must be on the road, please give our operators room to work.”
Texas primary voting hours extended
Due to this week’s winter weather closures and delays, Travis County officials extended early voting hours in Austin, Texas until 10pm on February 25, according to the Austin Statesman-American.
The primary for various state and local contests, including governor and lieutenant governor, will be held on March 1.
Man dead in Missouri due to weather
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a 52-year-old man died when his vehicle slid on ice on a route near Rolla on Thursday night.
John Mattingly of St. Peters, Missouri, was identified as the victim.
St. Peters is roughly 28 miles northwest of St. Louis.
Biggest snowstorms of all time, continued
The NESIS takes into account the fact that some of the deadliest storms feature little snowfalls that are blown out of sight by hurricane-force winds.
Some storms are more severe than others because they hit big cities or are so broad that they hit many cities.
Biggest snowstorms of all time: ranked
According to How Stuff Works, the 10 biggest snowstorms of all time are:
- The Blizzard of 1888: Northeastern United States
- The Storm of the Century, 1993: Eastern United States
- New York City Blizzard of 2006
- Lhunze County, Tibet in 2008
- Mount Shasta, California in 1959
- The Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971: Quebec and Ontario, Canada
- The Iran Blizzard of 1972: Iran and Azerbaijan
- The Great Snow of 1717: New England
- The Buffalo Blizzard of 1977
- Snowmageddon of 2014: Atlanta
Massive winter storms can span the spectrum of being a bit of a nuisance to being outright dangerous for most, but ski resorts and other winter-loving businesses don’t seem to mind the impact of a weather system like Winter Storm Oaklee.
A Twitter account for Whiteface Mountain in New York, where people are able to ski, celebrated the arrival of the storm and the snow that would pile up as a result.
“It’s a winter wonderland, and snow is piling up with freshies for every run. What better way to end Presidents’ week than with a snowstorm for your weekend?”
Last year’s storms were deadly in Texas
The winter storms in Texas in 2021 proved very deadly for residents there.
A Department of State Health Services report on the freezing temperatures last year found that 246 deaths were caused, which spanned 77 counties, and those who died ranged from under 1-year-old to 102 years old.
Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were due to hyperthermia, the Texas Tribune reported.