Winter storm warnings and weather advisories were stretching from central Texas to the East Coast on Tuesday as snow, sleet and freezing rain was already snarling air traffic from New York to Kentucky.
More than 50 million Americans were under some sort of winter weather warning or watch Tuesday, including 18 million under a wind chill advisory.
Air travel was off to a choppy start Tuesday: Almost 2,000 flights within, into or out of the U.S. delayed or canceled before 9:30 a.m.
In New York, LaGuardia Airport issued a brief ground stop early Tuesday from icy weather conditions that were causing ” flight disruptions.” The airport was experiencing delays averaging almost an hour and advised travelers to check with airlines to determine the status of flights.
In North Carolina, Charlotte Douglas International Airport issued a ground stop because of fog and low visibility. In Kentucky, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport was briefly closed because of weather conditions.
Parts of east Arkansas, Northern Mississippi and west Tennessee were under an ice storm warning, and officials cautioned against traveling in the hazardous conditions.
Farther north, wind advisories were in effect in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states across the Midwest and Plains until Tuesday morning. Wind chills dropped to 35 degrees below zero in some places. The dangerous temperatures can “cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the National Weather Service warned.
Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s winter weather.
SIGNIFICANT ICING EVENT:50 million under winter weather warnings as arctic cold moves in; Texas braces for days of ice
A winter storm warning was in effect in north Texas and western central Texas until noon on Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said.
The area was mostly expecting freezing rain and sleet – not snow.
The Austin, Texas, metro area was also under a winter storm warning until Wednesday. Officials warned against any non-emergency travel and said power outages are possible.
The ice storm warning impacting Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee until noon on Wednesday was expected to bring ice accumulations of a quarter to one-half inch, the weather service in Memphis said.
Travel is also discouraged in these areas, and power outages and tree damages are likely from the icy conditions.
A wind chill advisory in Wisconsin was in effect until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and wind chills dropped to 35 degrees below zero in some cities, the weather service said.
Similar warnings extended into:
Temperatures are expected to rise in parts of Wisconsin on Wednesday and Thursday, the Appleton Post-Crescent, part of the USA TODAY Network reported. But wind chills are expected to drop into negative 20s on Friday.