US battered by harsh winter storms and record-high temperatures at the same time

ITV News US Correspondent Dan Rivers reports on the rare cold snap which has transformed parts of the US west coast

A brutal winter storm in the US has trapped drivers on roads and cut power to thousands of homes - all while residents in the south-east swelter in record-breaking heat.

California and other parts of the west faced heavy snow and rain on Friday from the latest winter storm to pound the states. Meanwhile, Nashville in Tennessee enjoyed 27C temperatures.

Thousands of people in Michigan shivered through extended power outages wrought by one of the worst ice storms in decades.

The National Weather Service warned of a “cold and dangerous winter storm” that would last through to Saturday.

Blizzard warnings were posted in the Sierra Nevada and Southern California mountain ranges, where as much as 5 feet (1.5 metres) of snow was expected.

“We are in for a VERY busy week!” the National Weather Service bureau in San Diego tweeted.

“We have issued warnings for damaging winds, heavy mountain snow, highly hazardous boating conditions and the list goes on.”

People walk along a snow covered Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz Credit: AP

The weather shut down much of Portland after the city experienced its second snowiest day in history and paralysed travel from parts of the Pacific Coast all the way to the northern Plains.

The nearly 11 inches of snow that fell in Portland stalled traffic during the Wednesday evening rush hour and trapped drivers on freeways.

Some spent the night in their vehicles or abandoned them altogether as crews struggled to clear roads.

The storms brought heavy snow to places that rarely see it, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and grounded or delayed thousands of flights.

In Southern California, the weather service office in San Diego issued its first-ever blizzard warning, covering the mountains of San Bernardino County from early Friday until Saturday afternoon.

San Bernardino County lies east of Los Angeles County, where the first mountain blizzard warning since 1989 was scheduled to take effect at the same time.

A woman stands on a snow-covered road taking a selfie. Credit: AP

Few places were untouched by the wild weather, including some at the opposite extreme, as long-standing record highs were broken in cities in the midwest, mid-Atlantic and southeast.

Nashville topped at 27 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, breaking a 127-year-old record for the date, according to the weather service.

Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Lexington, Kentucky and Mobile, Alabama were among many other record-setters.

No warmup was forecast this week, though, as in the northern US more than 18 inches of snow may pile up in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Forecasters have also warned that places that don’t get snow may get dangerous amounts of ice.

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