John Bacon, USA TODAY
Temperatures dropped to 30 degrees below zero in parts of Colorado while New Mexico was contending with a dangerous mix of freezing rain, snow and howling winds Thursday as a brutal cold front slowly marched south and east.
"Cold. Cold. Cold. Cold. It's going below zero everywhere," said Don Day of DayWeather in Cheyenne, Wyo.
The entire state of Wyoming was below zero as of mid-morning, according to meteorologist Jacob Wycoff.
Also, every weather station in the states of Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming were registering below-freezing temperatures.
Day said Thursday's temperatures in Colorado and Wyoming will likely rise into the low teens and then plummet again into Friday. The temperatures are 20 to 30 degrees below average for this time of year, he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Aleksa said the temperature in Meeker, Colo., hit 29 below zero just before sunrise Thursday, and Craig was at minus 27 degrees. It was minus-6 degrees in Bismarck, N.D., Thursday morning, but wind chills made it feel like 30-below.
Physician John Torres said it's so cold that even people in Colorado, normally accustomed to wintry conditions, need be wary.
"The cold temperature can cause a lot of problems, mainly frostbite, hypothermia - they can sneak up on you," Torres said. "They can affect you real quickly and those can be life long effects you're dealing with."
The New Mexico Department of Transportation said Interstate 25 was among routes with difficult conditions due to the wintry mix. The National Weather Service said snowfall accumulations in some areas could reach 6 to 8 inches, with hardest-hit areas expected to include Torrance County and north toward Las Vegas.
The icy mix was spreading from parts of northern Texas to northern and western Arkansas, bound for central Kentucky and southern Ohio on Thursday night and early Friday, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The ice could lead to significant travel problems and widespread power outages in cities such as Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and Cincinnati, AccuWeather warns.