From icy Texas to snowy Seattle, frigid weather blankets huge swath of U.S.
(Reuters) - Winter weather battered the United States from coast to coast on Thursday as a series of storms expected to last for days mixed with an arctic air mass to bring snow and freezing rain as far south as Texas where there was a deadly multi-vehicle pileup. A line of freezing rain stretched from Texas to West Virginia, with some of it accumulating to one-quarter of one-half inch, according to meteorologist Marc Chenard at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
(Reuters) - Winter weather battered the United States from coast to coast on Thursday as a series of storms expected to last for days mixed with an arctic air mass to bring snow and freezing rain as far south as Texas where there was a deadly multi-vehicle pileup.
A line of freezing rain stretched from Texas to West Virginia, with some of it accumulating to one-quarter of one-half inch, according to meteorologist Marc Chenard at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
Among the areas to get a coating of freezing rain during the Thursday morning rush hour was Fort Worth, Texas, where local media reported that at least five people were killed in a massive pileup of some 70 vehicles on an interstate highway.
Video at the scene showed dozens of smashed cars and trucks, some literally piled on top of one another on a wet roadway and under cloudy skies.
The Texas precipitation was part of a system that was bringing rain to several southeastern states and modest amounts of snow to West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, but was winding down, Chenard said.
A separate system will make its presence felt in the mid-Atlantic area on Saturday, he said.
"That may bring potentially significant freezing rain accumulations to portions of Virginia and Maryland," he added.
Meanwhile, another weather system was making its way into the Pacific Northwest where it was forecast to remain through Saturday and bring as much eight inches (20 cm)of snow to normally rainy Seattle and 12 inches (30 cm) to Portland, Oregon. Seattle averages about 6 inches of snow in an entire winter season.
"An event of this magnitude is rare,” said Chenard.
That weather system is forecast to make its way eastward, bringing significant snowfall to the upper Midwest over the weekend and freezing rain south almost to Gulf Coast of Texas.
"There likely will be winter weather impacts in the East by early next week," Chenard added.
The storm systems, which normally would have brought rain, have been converted into snow and ice makers by a polar air mass that has descended upon much of the country, bringing frigid temperatures before beginning to recede in the middle of next week, Chenard said.
Recent low temperatures in the upper United States from Montana to Wisconsin have ranged from minus 35 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 37 to minus 40 degrees Celsius).
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.