160 million Americans under winter alerts as usually warm regions see snow

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More than 160 million Americans are under winter weather alerts Sunday as storms on both coasts span the country, bringing record snow and temperatures to states that usually don’t see such bitter cold.

A storm system in the Southern Plains is traveling up the Northeast, bringing heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Both Texas and Oklahoma are in states of emergency Sunday, as Dallas braces for up to half a foot of snow and parts of Oklahoma might see as much as a foot. Cities including San Antonio, Memphis, Little Rock and Nashville should expect snow at levels unusually unseen, the National Weather Service said.

The multi-day winter storm will begin to travel northeast on Sunday into the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain, the weather service said. The freezing rain might be seen as far south as Louisiana and the southernmost tip of Texas.

“Every part of Texas will face freezing conditions,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, adding that his state’s department of transportation is working at all hours to try to make conditions as safe as possible. “What becomes frozen will remain frozen for a long period of time.”

A jogger makes their way down the middle of a snowy street on Feb. 13, 2021, in Seattle.David Ryder / Getty Images

Ice from the system that will stretch from the Midwest to the Northeast could make travel hazardous.

The Southern Plains storm will last through Tuesday, ultimately finding its way to Maine after going through western Pennsylvania and much of New York, forecasters predict.

Many West Coasters are hunkering down too, as a northwest storm system brings heavy snow to Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Seattle got almost nine inches of snow on Saturday, and areas to its south received more than a foot. The city known for rain hadn’t seen that much snow since 1969, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy snow has already accumulated in Idaho too, with up to 18 inches in some mountainous areas. Heavy snow is possible in parts of Nevada, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas too.

Kyle Crabill, 6, and Daren Crabill sled down a hill in the snow at Wright Park in Tacoma, Wash., on Feb. 13, 2021.Joshua Bessex / The News Tribune via AP

In the Southwest, blizzard conditions are hitting Albuquerque on Sunday, where light snow is combined with strong winds of up to 60 miles per hours as all of New Mexico remains under some kind of winter weather warning.

Image: Ben KesslenBen Kesslen

Ben Kesslen is a reporter for NBC News. 

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