Weather tracker: freezing conditions sweep south across US | US weather

Much of the United States is experiencing very cold conditions as cold air plunges south from northern Canada all the way to the Gulf coast, giving freezing temperatures across most of the country.

An area of low pressure in the Great Lakes region brought snow and bitter winds. Twenty centimetres (8in) of snow was reported in the twin city area of Minneapolis-Saint Paul in Minnesota on Wednesday. The surge of cold air also affected areas farther west, with a sharp cold front bringing a dramatic 22C (40F) drop in just 30 minutes in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The combination of cold air and strong northerly winds resulted in wind-chill warnings being issued by the National Weather Service, covering an area stretching from the Canadian border to the border with Mexico in southern Texas. Wind-chill temperatures lower than -40C are expected, the temperature at which the celsius and fahrenheit scales intersect.

Over the weekend, travellers and tourists in Iceland found themselves stuck in Keflavik airport as flights were severely delayed or cancelled due to heavy snowfall on Saturday. A few days earlier, a low pressure system developed off the east coast of Greenland and propagated eastwards towards Iceland. The Icelandic Met Office recorded a snow depth of 14cm at 9am on Saturday. Despite sunny conditions, this snow cover had only diminished to 10cm by Thursday due to temperatures remaining comfortably below zero.

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On the other side of the world, the first named tropical cyclones of the 2022-23 Australian season occurred this week. One of these, Tropical Cyclone Darian, began developing in the Indian Ocean last week as a tropical low. This low strengthened into a cyclone on Sunday and was given the name Darian by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Darian quickly strengthened, becoming a category 5 cyclone on the Australian scale on Wednesday, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 140mph.

This makes Darian the earliest category 5 cyclone to occur in the Australian season since 2009, when Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence reached category 5 on 16 December. Unlike Laurence, which caused significant damage in northern and western Australia, Darian is far from any land and is slowly weakening in the centre of the south Indian Ocean.

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