- By Chloe Kim and Nadine Yusif
- BBC News
A severe winter storm has caused widespread disruption across the United States, while parts of the country’s southeast are bracing for high temperatures.
As of Wednesday, about 75 million people in 28 states were placed under winter weather warnings.
Blizzards have forced many schools and businesses to close in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, the highest temperature in Washington DC is expected to break a nearly 150-year record.
Some parts of the US can be 100F (38C) warmer than others at the same time.
Record low temperature in the US
Strong winds of 50mph (80km/h) and wind chills as low as -50F are forecast in some areas.
In northern states, some areas are predicted to receive up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow, the heaviest snowfall areas will experience in 30 years.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walls said the National Guard will be on hand to help stranded motorists in blizzard conditions. Officials said the state could break its record for snowfall.
Forecasters said the storm system could extend as far as 1,300 miles from Nebraska to New Hampshire.
More than 1,700 flights have been canceled in the US due to the storm.
Generally sunny and warm weather is forecast for Los Angeles, California, where a rare blizzard warning has been issued. Heavy snow and wind gusts of up to 75 mph are forecast for the mountains and foothills of Ventura and Los Angeles County.
All of California’s 39 million residents could see snow falling around them or settling on nearby mountain tops, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California-Los Angeles.
As of Wednesday night, parts of Montana had recorded a chilly temperature of -9F.
The United States also recorded high temperatures
Meanwhile, much of the southern United States is experiencing unusually high temperatures for this time of year. On Wednesday, McAllen, Texas, recorded a high of 95F.
Wednesday’s heat in Lexington, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, shattered records that had stood for more than a century.
Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta and other US cities also saw record highs.
Washington DC could reach 80F on Thursday, breaking the record set in 1874.
Orlando, Florida, can reach 90F and New Orleans, Louisiana, can reach 84F.
“Throughout the winter, we’ve seen this consistent pattern of the western US seeing below-average temperatures and the eastern US seeing above-average temperatures,” Columbia University researcher Andrew Kruskiewicz told BBC News.
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Canada is also feeling the impact of the winter storm
Much of the country is under a weather warning, including Toronto, which expects 4-10in (10-15cm) of snow, sleet and possible freezing rain.
Air services have also been suspended due to the winter storm. Air Canada canceled a quarter of its scheduled flights Wednesday afternoon.
February is the hottest temperature recorded in the country. Now, parts of Toronto may see significant ice build-up as a result of this latest cold snap.
Parts of Alberta and the prairies face severe cold warnings, with temperatures dropping into the -40F (-40C) range with wind chills in some areas.
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