Kaety West, a normal Seattle resident, walked in the snow to the tent where she normally stays to seek refuge at a small warming center at an American Legion hall.

“I don’t even want to stay in it right at the moment. It’s so hard,” West stated about her tent Monday.

Officials and private organizations opened emergency shelters across western Washington and Oregon as forecasters predicted that the extreme cold caused by an arctic blast would last until the weekend.

On Sunday, snow showers from the Gulf of Alaska blew into the Pacific Northwest. They dumped up to 15 cm (six inches), across Seattle.

According to the National Weather Service, Seattle’s Sunday low was -6.7 C (20° F), breaking a 1948 record. Bellingham, Washington was at -12.8 C (9F), which is 1.7C colder than 1971’s previous record.

Officials in Oregon declared an emergency. Multnomah County, home to Portland, had about half a dozen weather shelters open. The mayor declared an emergency and Seattle leaders opened at least six shelters for severe weather. Utilities reported that about 5,000 customers were without power Monday in Oregon and Washington.

This month, tornadoes caused by severe weather conditions in the middle of the United States killed many. Last year, the US was hit by unusually severe winter weather, which killed at least 20 people and cut off power supply to millions.

There was enough room for around a dozen people at the shelter in Seattle, American Legion Hall Post 160.

Keith Hughes, American Legion, stated that the American Legion’s capacity was limited because of a shortage of volunteers.

He stated that volunteers are a problem as well as for me and everyone else in the town. He also said that COVID was going on, and that there were plans for keeping the space open for around 10 days.

Hughes stated that the Legion post was closed for three days last week.

Hughes stated that “the longer it goes on the harder it’s going be on people who don’t have a way out of this,” Hughes added. “We will continue to help people as much as possible.”

Further south, snowfall in Nevada and northern California closed major highways. Forecasters warned that traveling in the Sierra Nevada could prove difficult for several days.

According to poweroutage.us, which tracks power outages in California, more than 936,000 people were without power Tuesday.

Officials from the University of California Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory reported that recent snowfalls have smashed the 1970 snowiest December record of just 4.6 metres (15 ft) at Donner Pass. This record stands at 4.9 metres (16ft) and there is more snow expected.

Truckee’s Northstar California Resort closed its mountain operations due to blizzard conditions. According to the resort’s Facebook page, the ski resort had received more snow than 1.8m (six feet), in the past 48 hours.

After weeks of dry weather, the Sierra snowpack had fallen to dangerously low levels. However, the Department of Water Resources in California reported Monday that snowpack levels were between 145 and 161 percent of the normal range. More snow is expected.

Nevada was hit by freezing temperatures and blinding snow in the northern half of the state. This affected travel and business and closed Sierra Nevada highway passes. It also delayed airport flights and shut down state offices.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak directed that all state employees, except public safety and corrections personnel, should remain at home during the storm.

Arizona was hit hard by the storms that battered California and Nevada over recent days. They brought rain and snow. On Friday, a record-breaking inch of rain was recorded at Phoenix’s airport. 28 cm (11 inches) of snow fell at Arizona Snowbowl ski resort outside Flagstaff.

The desert state was expected to see more storms and they will continue through the week. Snow is expected in the greater Portland region until Tuesday.