This is not a drill: More than 100 million people across the United States will face a potentially deadly deep freeze event this week. The extremely low temperatures, the National Weather Service warned, could cause hypothermia and frostbite in mere seconds.
The storm, known as Winter Storm Jayden, has already made its way across much of the Midwest, bringing with it plenty of snow and wind. It’s now on its way toward the Northeast portion of the country and parts of the South.
According to The Weather Channel, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are already in place across the Great Lakes region and in states as far south as Louisiana to western Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. A winter storm warning has also already been issued for part of western North Carolina.
Both winter storm warnings and watches are also already in place across New England, parts of New York state, Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, Maryland, and northern Virginia, The Weather Channel reported.
Seriously, this system is not something to mess with.
“You're talking about frostbite and hypothermia issues very quickly, like in a matter of minutes, maybe seconds,” Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center, told Daily Mail.
According to Hurley, Milwaukee alone could reach a new low temperature of negative 28 degrees, with a windchill factor making it feel as low as negative 50. “That's 40 degrees below normal,” Hurley said.
The low temperatures aren’t the only things to worry about either. Both snow and black ice will persist, likely for days, across a large swath of the nation following the storm.
While those who can are encouraged to hunker down and stay instead, those who need to travel may find themselves stuck. According to Business Insider, on Monday, more than a thousand flights out of Chicago's two major airports had already been canceled.
Some airlines are thinking proactively about the storm, issuing waiver fees and other incentives to modify travel plans. Delta, for example, issued a weather waiver for travelers departing on Jan. 27 and 28 through 16 Midwestern airports. The airline also proactively canceled approximately 170 mainline and Delta Connection flights for Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for Tuesday.
United is offering travel vouchers for those traveling across the Eastern United States between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, Business Insider reported. The latest travel can be re-booked is Feb. 4.
JetBlue is currently offering waivers for travelers in the Northeast region traveling on Tuesday, Jan. 29 to or from Albany, Buffalo, Chicago, Rochester, and Syracuse.
If you’re traveling over the next few days in affected regions make sure to check in with your airline to see if your flights are running and if you have any alternative options. And, make sure to bundle up.