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Nearly 100 million Americans are facing extreme cold this week

A truck travels on Interstate 25 during blizzard-like conditions on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Blencoe, Iowa. The second winter weather system in a week is bringing harsh conditions across Iowa as voters prepare for the Republican Party Iowa presidential caucuses on Monday, Jan. 15th.
Kevin Dietsch
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Getty Images
A truck travels on Interstate 25 during blizzard-like conditions on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Blencoe, Iowa. The second winter weather system in a week is bringing harsh conditions across Iowa as voters prepare for the Republican Party Iowa presidential caucuses on Monday, Jan. 15th.

Updated January 14, 2024 at 6:34 PM ET

Record-breaking cold weather continued to overwhelm the U.S. on Sunday and is likely to last into midweek, according to meteorologists.

The bone-chilling temperatures stem from an outbreak of Arctic air migrating from Canada and making its way through the U.S. The cold front is forecast to travel southward and produce more record-breaking low temperatures in the Midwest and the South, the National Weather Service said.

"Unfortunately, the dangerous cold weather could stick around for the next several days," the NWS advisedSunday.

More than 95 million people across the U.S. were under alerts for dangerously cold weather on Sunday.

The cold weather broke records in several parts of Montana. Helena Regional Airport reported a low of -36 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday morning, according to the NWS local office in Great Falls. The previous daily record was -34 degrees Fahrenheit set in 1888.

Dillon Airport in southwest Montana plunged to -41 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, breaking the record of -37 degrees Fahrenheit set on Christmas Eve in 1983.

Governors in Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Nebraska, Maine and Louisiana have issued states of emergencies in light of the severe weather.

Some 350,000 customers were without power across several states as of Sunday evening, according to PowerOutage.us. The biggest share of outages was in Oregon. But thousands of customers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York were also without electricity.

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 U.S. departing and incoming flights were canceled on Sunday, FlightAware.com reported, after thousands of flights were canceled on Friday and Saturday.

Snowstorm upends campaigning ahead of caucuses

A snowstorm in Iowa impacted Republican presidential candidates ahead of Monday's caucuses.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis postponed four events on Friday after campaigning in-person north of Des Moines earlier that day, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, both former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump pivoted their Iowa events online on Friday. More campaign events for the three GOP candidates were canceled Saturday and Sunday, the AP reported.

In New York, the Buffalo Bills also rescheduledtheir home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from Saturday to Monday in light of the severe weather.

Workers remove snow from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, ahead of Monday's rescheduled NFL playoff game.
Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP
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AP
Workers remove snow from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, ahead of Monday's rescheduled NFL playoff game.

Seawater levels reach record high in Maine, upending surrounding areas

On Saturday, Maine was hit with a record-breaking high tide of 14.57 feet near Portland, according to NWS preliminary reports. The fierce waves produced significant flooding — inundating streets and downtown piers, Maine Public reported. Multiple people were rescued and several warming shelters were opened for those who were forced to evacuate.

In Massachusetts, a round of snow, rain and gusty winds was predicted to form into snow squalls, which are brief but intense snow showers known to cause icy roads and white-out conditions within minutes.

Upstate New York was forecastto see knee-high snow and strong winds over the weekend. A winter storm warning was in effect across Oswego, Watertown and Lowville until Monday afternoon. Between 1 to 3 feet of snow is expected to accumulate.

Meanwhile, southeastern and southwestern St. Lawrence County in New York is expected to receive between 7 to 18 inches of snow, as well as wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour. The NWS warned that traveling could be "very difficult to impossible." Strong winds may also result in downed trees or power lines.

The Iowa State Capitol Building is pictured in Des Moines, Iowa, on  Saturday.
Andrew Harnik / AP
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AP
The Iowa State Capitol Building is pictured in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday.

At least 127 crashes reported in Iowa after blizzard

The fast-blowing snow made it impossible to see outside in parts of Iowa on Saturday. Iowa State Patrol said officers respondedto at least 127 crashes and 833 motorist assists calls, none of which were fatal.

The dangerous cold conditions will continue at least into Tuesday, the NWSsaid, with the lowest chills descending to between -40 to -45 Fahrenheit on Sunday in central Iowa. Forecasters warned that under such temperatures, frostbite on exposed skin can occur within 10 minutes.

Snow and strong winds continued to pass through Chicago on Sunday. Bitter cold from Arctic air will persist through midweek. It comes after Chicago experienced a near-record warm first half of winter. Forecasters called it the third mildest on record, behind 1890 and 1878.

"The record/near record warm start to winter is going to make the upcoming cold feel much worse," the NWS Chicago office said.

Large swaths of the South under winter storm alerts

Nearly all of Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee were under weather alerts on Sunday. The same was true for central and eastern Texas, northern and central Mississippi, eastern Oklahoma, northern Alabama, southern Kentucky and southern Missouri.

Forecasters said Saturday was the last day Memphis, Tenn., will see above freezing temperatures until Thursday. The city is expectedto receive between 4 and 6 inches of snow through Monday night. Areas south of Interstate 22 could see a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain Sunday night and the NWS warned of icy and slippery road conditions.

Snow will likely arrive in Nashville late Sunday and last through Tuesday, with the heaviest snowfall occurring on Monday. In total, between 3 and 4 inches is forecast for the Music City. Temperatures across middle Tennessee will remainbelow freezing until Thursday.

North and central Texas will also see temperatures fall significantly below freezing. A mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain is also in store for theFort Worth area through Monday.

In Arkansas, forecasters expectit to also be brutally cold through midweek, with Tuesday bringing the coldest morning. Between 4 and 5 inches of snow is forecastto pile over eastern and central Arkansas, while the rest of the state may see 1 to 3 inches.

Bitter cold is also expected to frost central Mississippi starting Sunday night through Wednesday, including Jackson and Yazoo City. The coldest temperatures are likely to appear Tuesday night. The NWSsays prolonged exposure to the low temperatures may result in frostbite or hypothermia. Pipes exposed to the cold may also be risk of damage.

Jose Peralta, with the Oregon Department of Forestry, uses a chainsaw to cut a downed tree into smaller pieces after it fell on a car and a home on Saturday, in Portland, Ore.
Jenny Kane / AP
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AP
Jose Peralta, with the Oregon Department of Forestry, uses a chainsaw to cut a downed tree into smaller pieces after it fell on a car and a home on Saturday, in Portland, Ore.

Oregon's Multnomah County investigates death linked to hypothermia

Snow, sleet and freezing rain slammed Oregon on Saturday and about 140,000 customers were without power Sunday afternoon. Portland's transit agency suspended service of its light rail MAX system amid the extreme weather. Bus service continued to run but TriMetsaid routes were limited or detoured due to closed roads, downed trees and fallen power lines.

The medical examiner's office in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, said it is investigating one death linked to hypothermia, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

In Idaho, snow fell about at a rate of 2 inches per hour on Saturday night. The NWS reported 6.8 inches of snowfall at the Boise Airport — the most snow seen at that location on a Jan. 14 of any year. The previous record of 5.4 inches was set in 1993.

A winter storm warning is in effect in central Utah until 5 p.m. Monday local time. Up to 30 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour is expected in the upper Cottonwoods.

Much of western Colorado has been issued a winter storm warning until 5 p.m. Monday local time as well. Elkhead, Park Mountains and Flat Tops are expected to accumulate between 1 to 2 feet of snow.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 13, 2024 at 8:00 PM AKST
An earlier version of this story placed the communities of Star Lake and South Colton in Vermont. Both are hamlets in upstate New York.
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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.