Massive Winter Storm Sweeps Across U.S.

Massive Winter Storm Sweeps Across U.S.

A winter storm spanning nearly 2,000 miles (3,000 kilometers) brought bitter cold temperatures, heavy snow, freezing rain, and treacherous ice to more than a dozen states during the first week of February 2022. The storm began on February 1 with a cold front surging from the Rockies to the Midwest and bringing extreme cold and heavy snow. By week’s end, the storm had cut a massive swath across the country from Texas to Maine.

The National Weather Service reported temperatures ranging 15 to 30 degrees below average across the Plains and Ohio Valley. Freezing rain and sleet coated roads and trees, bringing down power lines and causing extensive power outages, thousands of flight cancellations, and hazardous travel conditions. The potent front also stirred up a tornado in Alabama amid heavy rainfall and flooding.

As of February 4, dozens of cities had reported snow totals in the double digits and wind chill and hard freeze advisories remained in effect in many areas.

The extensive cloud cover associated with the storm appears in this natural-color image acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on February 3, 2022.

The vast storm closely followed a blizzard from which millions of people from North Carolina to Maine were still digging out.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Story by Sara E. Pratt.