A historic winter storm is hitting the US this Christmas.
A violent storm wreaked havoc across much of the United States over the Christmas weekend. Bitter cold, heavy snow and freezing winds led to power outages in more than 1.2 million US homes, the website PowerOutage showed on Friday evening (local time).
The winter storm has already claimed 17 lives, according to NBC, citing local officials. In almost all cases, weather-related traffic accidents are the cause.
The snow and ice disrupted many travelers’ plans: More than 5,000 flights were canceled and nearly 9,000 were delayed on Friday, according to flight data website FlightAware. Travelers especially north, around the Great Lakes, had to cancel trips.
Airports in Chicago and Detroit are among the most important hubs in the country. A video posted on the Weather Channel’s website shows an army of snow plows trying to clear the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Countless roads were closed on Christmas Eve due to heavy snow or dangerous sleet.
The US Weather Service (NWS) called the event “historic”. Now the temperature has dropped to minus 48 degrees Celsius. The size of the arctic cold region is also exceptional. It stretched from the Canadian border in the north to the Mexican border in the south. A mega winter storm sweeping across the US is causing more and more problems for the nation’s infrastructure. Officials said about 1.5 million homes were at least temporarily without power.
More than 200 million people received severe weather warnings on Christmas Eve. Initially, the North and Midwest of the country were particularly affected. But there was also a severe frost warning for states in the south of the country. A state of emergency has been declared in some states, including New York.
“I request everyone not to hit the streets tonight as temperatures continue to drop across the state and conditions will worsen. Stay warm, stay indoors and take care of yourself this weekend,” New York Gov. Cathy Hochul, 64, urged residents.
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In Erie County, south of the Great Lakes in upstate New York, emergency services were overwhelmed at times. The county’s superintendent, Mark Bollengarz, called on Twitter to only call 911 in “critical, life-threatening situations” to keep the lines free. He urged residents to stay in their homes despite power and heating outages. Transportation to emergency shelters is currently impossible.
The US media, citing meteorologists, warned that a special and severe storm called a “bomb typhoon” could appear. The states of Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming have already recorded values of minus 45 degrees Celsius.
According to meteorologists, temperatures in Denver, Colorado dropped nearly 40 degrees in less than 24 hours as the Arctic cold front passed through. “This is not like a childhood snow day,” warned President Joe Biden (80). (SDA/AFP/kes/man)
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