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article imageThree-quarters of the U.S. is covered in snow — most in 18 years

By Karen Graham     Feb 17, 2021 in Environment
As cold weather has infiltrated most of the country, the snow has covered more than 73 percent of the continental United States on Tuesday, according to National Weather Service data.
The extreme weather pummeling the country has left 20 dead, including four family members trying to stay warm in their Houston-area home. Three more people were killed in a tornado in North Carolina.
The tornado was one of several twisters spawned by cold fronts along the edge of the same system bringing below-freezing temperatures across the nation. The winter weather has shut down power grids unprepared for climate change and left millions without electricity for in some cases, several days.
It has been 18 years - the last time being 2003 - since the U.S. has seen snow covering nearly three-quarters of the country. Only three states, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina are not covered by any snow. There are several states that are just not used to seeing so much snow, like Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
And it is not over, yet
Over 100 million people live in areas covered Wednesday by some type of winter weather warning as the spread of the snow cover could grow in the coming days. A storm is expected to sweep through the mid-Atlantic and drop snow over parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Delaware that are not currently covered in snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Close to 3 million customers were still without power early Wednesday in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, more than 200,000 more in four Appalachian states, and nearly as many in the Pacific Northwest, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility outage reports.
“There’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.
The weather is also threatening the country's COVID-19 vaccination efforts. President Joe Biden’s administration said delays in vaccine shipments and deliveries were likely.
More about Winter storms, United States, threequarters covered, polar vortex, Climate change
 
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