A devastating winter storm battered the United States with blinding snow and powerful Arctic winds left more than a million customers without power on Saturday as thousands of flight cancellations left travelers stranded in the final moments of Christmas. He made it happen.
At least 17 weather-related deaths were confirmed in eight states as heavy snow, gusty winds and dangerously freezing temperatures swept much of the country, including the relatively temperate South, for a third straight day. done
According to the tracking website Flightaware.com, the “bomb cyclone” winter storm, the worst in years, forced the cancellation of 2,300 US flights and delayed another 5,300 on Saturday, a single day About 6,000 flights were cancel afterwards.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted Saturday that “major disruption is behind us as airline and airport operations slowly recover” — words echoed by airports including Atlanta, Chicago , Denver, Detroit and New York. but was holding stranded passengers.
New York City resident Zach Cuyler, whose flight home to Houston was delayed on Dec. 22 and canceled twice already this week, was “very upset” by the chaos.
The now 35-year-old hopes to be reunited with her family by December 25. “I am happy that I will see my family for Christmas,” he told AFP.
In the hard state of New York, the Gov. Kathy Hochul of the National Guard to Erie County and its capital Buffalo, where officials said emergency services had essentially collapsed under heavy blizzard conditions.
“There are probably hundreds of people still trapped in vehicles,” Erie County Executive Mark Polone-Cars said earlier Saturday, adding that the National Guard “was being dispatched to the city of Buffalo to perform the life-threatening rescues to do.” Yes.”
Some of the nation’s busiest transportation routes were also closed, including cross-country Interstate 70, which was temporarily closed in parts of Colorado and Kansas.
The National Weather Service warned of hazardous conditions and urged residents in the affected areas to stay indoors.
On Friday, he said a wind chill pushed temperatures down to -55 Fahrenheit (-48 Celsius).
According to tracker poweroutage.us, the bitter cold is an immediate concern for about a million power customers who were without power as of 1830 GMT on Saturday.
Some cities, including the state of North Carolina, began implementing rolling blackouts due to high demand for electricity, leaving people unable to safely heat their homes in some cases.
Rosa Falcon, a school teacher and volunteer, told AFP that desperate migrants who crossed from Mexico gathered for warmth in churches, schools and a civic center in El Paso, Texas.
But some still chose to stay outside in the cold temperatures because they feared the attention of immigration officials, he said.
In Chicago, Brick Patton of Night Ministry, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless, said: “We are providing cold weather gear, including coats, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, blankets and sleeping bags. With bags, hands and feet. Heaters.”
The National Weather Service is predicting that dangerously cold conditions will continue across the central and eastern United States through the weekend before temperatures return to more normal weather next week.
Transportation departments in several Plains states reported near-zero visibility, snow-covered roads and blizzard conditions, and strongly advised residents to stay home.
Motorists were being warned not to hit the roads – even as the nation approaches what is normally the busiest travel time of the year.
By Friday evening, the storm had reached “bomb cyclone” status after a rapid drop in air pressure over 24 hours.
Bomb cyclones produce heavy rain or snow. They can also cause coastal flooding, and generate hurricane force winds.
Kelsey McEwan, a meteorologist in Toronto, tweeted that waves of up to 26 feet (eight meters) were reported in Lake Erie, and winds of 74 miles (120 kilometers) per hour were reported in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, NWS. tweeted.