As the Midwest gets a taste of summer, the West prepares for snow

BOSTON (AP) — The end of February is bringing wild weather to much of the United States, with hot weather allowing for golf in Wisconsin and outdoor food trucks in Minnesota, and high fire danger across the Great Plains. But blinding snow in the Northwest blows eastward, and temperatures in places like Chicago will once again turn from frigid to bitterly cold.

“Definitely not the weather we expect in February. It's usually very snowy, freezing, you know, snow everywhere. So we're trying to take advantage of a good week this week,” said Tania Sepulveda, a 30-year-old Chicago therapist who was “working from home” on Monday, using her laptop on a lawn by Lake Michigan. Coastline.

The hot weather does not last long. A powerful storm has begun dumping snow, which could reach several feet in the high elevations of the West, promising a return to wintry conditions in Central America where it has been. Unseasonably warm. A strong wind is already blowing, Wildfire risk is elevated across the Great Plains.

The National Weather Service warned of hazardous travel in the Oregon Cascades and parts of the northern Rockies late Monday, predicting near-blizzard conditions with one to two inches of snow per hour and winds of 65 mph (104 kph).

The storm will move into the larger basin And the Central Rockies Tuesday will bring very cold temperatures and strong winds across the Interior Mountain West, said Andrew Orison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland. “We will be very wintry for the next couple of days,” he added.

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The West is a place with unusual and, in some cases, dangerous weather conditions. Here's what to expect elsewhere.

It's hot in the heartland

This time of year must be very cold in places like Chicago. But the city and many others are getting across Central America An early taste of summer with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

Warmer conditions continued into a chilly weekend, with temperatures in the 60s in Denver, Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa. Kansas City, Missouri, experienced temperatures in the mid-70s.

In Chicago, a high of 67 degrees (19 Celsius) was expected on Monday, breaking Chicago's old record of 64 degrees (18 Celsius). Wind gusts of 25 mph (40 kph) are expected. Tuesday's high was expected in the mid-70s, challenging Chicago's record of 75 (24 Celsius) for the date.

Highs on Monday were expected to reach the mid-60s across southern Wisconsin and extend as far north as Rhinelander, a town of 8,000, down Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

“We're blowing records in northern Illinois into south central and southwest Wisconsin,” said Mark Gehring, a weather service meteorologist in Sullivan, Wisconsin.

The local weather service office said Monday's warmer temperatures are “certain” for the Minneapolis area's warmest winter on record. Monday's high will be 63 (17 Celsius) in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be one degree shy of the record set in 1896, with St. Cloud in central Minnesota expected to reach 59 (15 Celsius), breaking the old record of 55 (13 Celsius) set in 1958.

But now is not the time to stock up on scarves and gloves until next winter.

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Places like Chicago will see temperatures drop dramatically by Wednesday, with highs below freezing and wind gusts of 30 mph (48 kph). In Minnesota, colder weather Tuesday and Wednesday could bring an inch or two of steep snow that could freeze and make travel dangerous Wednesday morning, the weather service said.

Golf in Wisconsin in February?

Jessica Blaska-Grady, general manager of The Oaks Golf Course in Sun Prairie, east of Madison, reopened for the season on Feb. 9 due to unseasonably warm weather. And he said he remembers only one winter – 2017. – When the course opened in February.

“It's definitely kind of crazy,” she said. “It's incredibly unusual, but I'm not going to lie and say it's unpleasant. It's a nice little boost. You've got to make hay while the sun shines.

Lori Cervantes, 53, doesn't remember a winter like this in the 20 years she's lived in Iowa. He moved back eight months ago after living in Portland, Oregon, and says “the weather is so nice.”

She took her dog Gus on daily walks in “unprecedented” weather and meditated in the sunlight outside the gold-domed Iowa Capitol in Des Moines.

“It's a little scary,” he said, noting that flower bulbs are already emerging from the ground and wondering how that could affect farmers and fields this growing season. “It's early to be this hot — and dry.”

Gehring attributed the unseasonable warmth to the El Niño pattern, which refers to warming in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which pushes the jet stream further north. These bands of strong winds form a boundary between the cold northerly air and the warm southerly air. Kering also noted Climate change plays a role in global warming For decades.

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Warm weather in many parts of the country has led to the cancellation of winter events Like ski races and pool hack competitions. Recently canceled Long-distance dog racing in the eastern United States.

Fire danger in plains

But warmer temperatures have increased fire danger across the Great Plains.

The National Weather Service said dry, strong winds are creating critical fire weather conditions and has issued red flag warnings and fire weather watches for New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and South Dakota. Iowa, Illinois and Missouri to the east.

Nearby states, including parts of Arkansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, were under a hazardous weather outlook due to increased fire danger, according to weather service maps. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued an advisory Monday morning discouraging burning anything outdoors after 15 wildfires burned more than 30 acres over the weekend.

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Associated Press writers Todd Richmond, Madison, Wisconsin, and Hannah Fingerhut, Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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