Millions of Americans face freezing temperatures as storms bring more air and snow to the Arctic

The National Weather Service warned that windy, subfreezing conditions in Montana and the Dakotas could cause wind chills as low as -56 degrees Celsius.

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Freezing temperatures across much of the United States left millions of Americans facing potentially dangerous cold on Sunday, as arctic storms threatened near-blizzard conditions in the Northeast and several inches of snow in parts of the South.

The National Weather Service warned that windy, subfreezing conditions in Montana and the Dakotas could cause wind chills as low as -56 degrees Celsius.

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An estimated 95 million people were under weather warnings or advisories for wind chills below -17C, according to the weather service. Forecasters said the severe cold was expected to reach as far as North Texas.

Even parts of northern Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia could also see snow. In Shreveport, Louisiana, Mary Trammel was among residents who stocked up on bottled water, food and fuel for generators ahead of the forecast of below-freezing weather that would bring an inch of snow and leave roads covered in ice.

“It’s cold here,” said Tramel, who told KSLA-TV he bought bread and ingredients for enough soup to last several days. “I can get what I need and make sure the house is well stored.”

Authorities warned people to stay off the roads in Buffalo, where snowfall of 0.3 to 0.6 meters was forecast. The severe storm forced the Buffalo Bills-Pittsburgh Steelers NFL playoff game to be postponed from Sunday to Monday. Wind gusts of up to 80 km/h were also possible, said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

“They’re expected to see heavy snowfall but also extreme winds,” Taylor said. “That’s why they expect to see near-blizzard conditions at times.”

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Airports across the country were affected. More than half of flights to and from Buffalo Niagara International Airport were canceled. Dozens of flights were also canceled or delayed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Forecasters also warned Sunday that intense bursts of heavy snow and winds could cause sudden, drastic drops in visibility in eastern Pennsylvania and parts of northern New Jersey and Delaware. The weather service urged people to stay off the roads, saying these types of storms could bring “near blackout conditions and a quick half-inch of snow in just 10 to 15 minutes.”

Another Arctic storm that has dumped heavy snow on the Rocky Mountains is forecast to move further south, potentially bringing 0.10 to 0.15 meters of snow to parts of Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee .

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency ahead of the severe weather to give utility trucks and trucks carrying essential supplies greater flexibility to respond.

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More than 150,000 homes and businesses in Oregon were without power Sunday after heavy snowfall and ice storms, according to Widespread outages affecting tens of thousands of people were also reported in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The harsh weather in Oregon played a role in three deaths.

In Portland, medical examiners were investigating a hypothermia death as freezing rain and heavy snow fell in a city more accustomed to mild winter rains, and hundreds of people sheltered overnight in warming centers.

Portland Fire and Rescue also reported the death of a woman in her 30s Saturday afternoon. A motor home caught fire when a small group of people used an open flame stove to keep warm inside and a tree fell on the vehicle, causing the fire to spread. Three other people escaped, including one with minor injuries, but the woman was trapped inside, the fire department said.

Authorities in Lake Oswego, Oregon, said a large tree fell on a home during high winds Saturday, killing an elderly man on the second floor.

Weather-related deaths were already reported earlier this week in California, Idaho, Illinois and Wisconsin.

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