Updated Jan 15, 2024 - Science

Over 120M under wind chill alerts as Arctic blast envelops much of U.S.

Crews work to deice an airplane at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on January 15, 2024. Over 320 flights have been canceled because of a winter storm that his the airport with snow and freezing temperatures.

Crews work to de-ice an airplane at Denver International Airport in Colorado on Jan. 15 as hundreds of flights are canceled at the airport because of a winter storm affecting most of the U.S. Photo: R.J. Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Editor's note: Follow the latest updates on the extreme U.S. weather here.

"Dangerously cold temperatures" and wind chills enveloped much of the U.S. on Monday, disrupting travel and closing schools — as the National Weather Service warned more records would be tied or broken.

The big picture: At least nine deaths have been attributed to the Arctic blast that's sweeping the country — including four since Friday in Oregon, which continued to experience widespread power outages and disruptions to public transportation on Monday due to what public agency TriMet described as a "historic winter storm."

Meanwhile, the NWS said in a Monday evening forecast discussion that snow and freezing rain was continuing over the Southern U.S. and spreading into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast through Tuesday.

  • Downwind of the Great Lakes, the NWS noted that heavy lake effect snowfall was continuing, with "significant travel impacts" expected.

State of play: In addition to the deaths in Oregon, officials in Milwaukee said three homeless people died over the weekend from "probable hypothermia."

  • On Sunday, authorities in Wyoming reported a skier died during an avalanche on Sunday and officials in Utah said a snowmobile rider was killed the same day after being hit by a semitrailer as almost 4 feet of snow fell in the state's mountains.
  • The threat of snow prompted schools in several major U.S. cities to announce closures Tuesday, including D.C., Chicago, Denver and Atlanta.
  • In Texas, ERCOT issued a statewide conservation appeal for a second day Monday during the Arctic blast in an effort to avoid a repeat of the major failure that occurred during a deadly February 2021 cold snap.

By the numbers: Over 8,000 customers in Texas were without power by Tuesday morning, per poweroutage.us.

  • In Oregon, nearly 58,000 were without power and some 30,000 in Louisiana also had no electricity, according to the utility tracker.
  • More than 9,000 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were delayed and over 4,000 canceled by Monday night, per the flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Of note: New daily temperature records were set or tied across the U.S.

  • These include in Clayton, New Mexico, which the NWS' Albuquerque office said "managed to make it up to 8 degrees before the second surge of arctic air arrived at around noon" — breaking the previous minimum record high of 15°F set in 1930.
  • Pueblo, Colorado's, temperature of 5°F marked the coldest Jan. 15 high temperature since records began, and the Hastings airport in Nebraska tied the morning's low temperature of -11°F.

In photos: Arctic blast slams U.S.

A caucus goer leaves with a Trump sign after Trump won the Iowa Caucuses in this precinct by nine votes at Mitchell Elementary January 15, 2024 in Ames, Iowa.
A caucus-goer in Ames, Iowa, leaves with a Trump sign after the former president and 2024 Republican primary frontrunner won the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
 Bryan Bremer shovels snow before the AFC Wild Card playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2024 in Buffalo, New York.
A man shovels snow before the AFC wild card playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo, New York, on Jan. 15 after the Bills hired local residents to help clear snow from the stadium before the game. A blizzard caused the game to be postponed the previous day. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Track loaders are used to shovel and dump snow off of the top of a parking garage as sub-freezing temperatures continue on January 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowans vote today in the state’s caucuses for the first contest in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating process.
Track loaders are used to shovel and dump snow off the top of a parking garage as sub-freezing temperatures continue on Jan. 15 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 Snow falls around the White House on January 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden is returning to the White House today after participating in Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Philadelphia following his weekend at Camp David.
Snow falls around the White House on Jan. 15 in Washington, D.C., where President Biden was returning after participating in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Philadelphia. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Snow falls in front of a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. by Ed Dwight at City Park on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Denver, Colorado on January 15, 2024.
Snow falls in front of a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. at City Park on Jan. 15 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Denver, Colorado, where organizers decided to cancel the program happening at the end of the annual event at Civic Center Park due to the cold temperatures. Photo: R.J. Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Go deeper... Winter whiplash: Why a parade of storms is suddenly slamming the U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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