Biden urges Americans to take ‘dangerous and threatening’ winter storm seriously

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday urged people to heed severe weather warnings as a major winter storm brings strong winds and dangerously cold temperatures to dozens of states.

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“This is really a very serious weather alert here,” the president said at the Oval Office ahead of a briefing on the storm. “It goes from Oklahoma all the way to Wyoming, and Wyoming to Maine. And it’s of real consequence.”

He urged people to heed local weather warnings.

“This is not like a snow day, you know, when you were a kid,” he added. “This is serious stuff.”

Officials with the National Weather Service warned that much of the country was likely to feel the effects of an Arctic blast of dangerous and life-threatening cold in the coming days.

In the central and eastern parts of the country, forecasters said the storm would likely “produce widespread disruptive and potentially crippling impacts,” while the Great Plains grapples with “record-breaking cold and life-threatening wind chill.”

Officials with NWS’s Buffalo, New York, office called the storm a “once-in-a-generation” event. Across the central High Plains, officials said Thursday that temperatures have already plummeted by 50 degrees in just a few hours. Several areas were seeing subzero temperatures.

A separate storm system is anticipated to bring “significant freezing rain” to parts of western Oregon and Washington, according to NWS.

Officials shared tips for dealing with the cold and urged people to be prepared if they have to travel.

Several airports canceled flights due to the inclement weather. As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 2,000 flights had been canceled across the country, while more than 4,500 others were delayed, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.