North America struck by blizzards and heat wave

A ferocious winter storm has caused widespread disruptions in the United States, while parts of the southeast are bracing for record-breaking heat.

Approximately 75 million people in 28 states have been issued winter weather alerts as of Wednesday. Numerous schools and businesses in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have been forced to close due to blizzards.

Meanwhile, high temperatures in Washington, DC are predicted to break a record that has stood for nearly 150 years. At the same time, some regions of the United States will be 100°F (38°C) warmer than others.

In some areas, gusts of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres per hour) and wind chills as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit are anticipated. In some northern states, forecasts of up to 2 feet (60 centimetres) of snow could result in the heaviest snowfalls in 30 years.

Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, announced that the National Guard will be available to assist stranded motorists during blizzard conditions. The state may break its snowfall record, according to officials. The storm system could span 1,300 miles from Nebraska to New Hampshire, according to forecasters. Due to the storm, more than 1,700 flights have been cancelled in the United States.

A rare blizzard warning has been issued for sunny and warm Los Angeles, California, where icy conditions are expected. In the mountains and foothills of Ventura and Los Angeles County, heavy snowfall and winds of up to 75 mph are predicted.

According to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, all 39 million Californians will be able to see snow either falling around them or accumulating on the peaks of nearby mountains.

As of Wednesday night, parts of Montana have recorded temperatures of -9 degrees Fahrenheit.

A large portion of the southern United States is experiencing unseasonably high temperatures at this time of year. McAllen, Texas, recorded a sweltering 95F on Wednesday. 

Wednesday's heat in Lexington, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, broke records dating back over a century. Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and other cities in the United States also experienced record highs. Thursday could reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington, DC, breaking a record set in 1874.

Orlando, Florida, could reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while New Orleans, Louisiana, could reach 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Toronto anticipates 4-10in (10-15cm) of snow, ice pellets, and possible freezing rain, as do large portions of the United States.

Additionally, the winter storm has halted flights. Wednesday afternoon, approximately a quarter of Air Canada's scheduled flights were cancelled. The country recently experienced February temperatures that set records. As a result of this recent cold snap, significant ice accumulation is possible in certain areas of Toronto.

Parts of Alberta and the prairies are under extreme cold warnings, with wind chill temperatures dropping to the -40F (-40C) range in some areas.This pattern of below-average temperatures in the western United States and above-average temperatures in the eastern United States has persisted throughout the winter, a climate scientist from Columbia University told sources