(Reuters) — Snow, ice and teeth-chattering temperatures will sock much of the United States on Valentine’s Day through early next week, with more than 100 million Americans under winter-related watches and warnings coast to coast.
The shivering weather is blasting from Portland, Oregon, across the U.S. Plains, dipping through Texas to New Orleans and as far east as Washington, D.C., the National Weather Service said.
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“It’s winter’s cold across much of the country,” said Marc Chenard, a forecaster with the service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
Amarillo, in the Texas panhandle, will see a high temperature of only a blistering cold 2 degrees Fahrenheit, Chenard said, breaking the record of 12 degrees set in 1895. Lubbock, Texas will hit a high of only 9 degrees. Little Rock, Arkansas will hit only 16 degrees.
“That’s 40 to 50 degrees below average,” Chenard said.
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The bitter cold was already gripping much of the Plains, and on Thursday icy roads contributed to a massive multi-vehicle pileup in Fort Worth, Texas, where six people died and dozens were taken to a hospital.
Chicago will see lows of zero degrees Fahrenheit for the holiday. New Orleans will hit the low 20s by Tuesday’s Mardi Gras, a celebration the city is famous for and already hobbled by the COVID pandemic.
Portland, Oregon will get an inch of snow – while not seeming to be much to Midwesterners, it is as much as the city typically gets in a year, the NWS reported.
Meanwhile, as much a foot of snow with high wind-driven drifts will clobber parts of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle. Dallas will see 4 inches, while sleet and freezing rain will sock Houston, creating dangerous road conditions, Chenard said.
One of the few warm spots for Valentine’s Day will be Florida, which will see temperatures in the 80s in Miami and in the 70s in Central Florida’s Orlando and Daytona Beach, Chenard said.