Dangerous winter storm could disrupt holiday travel for millions of Americans: “This is serious stuff”

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Travelers traveling across much of the eastern U.S. on Thursday most dangerous For decades on Christmas weekends, forecasters have “bomb cycloneTemperatures plummet to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of hours, with heavy snow and wind rolling in.

The air was cool go through Weather Service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook said Thursday that the wind chill advisory will affect about 135 million people in the next few days across the central and eastern United States. Places like Des Moines, Iowa can feel like minus 37 degrees and you can suffer frostbite within five minutes.

There has already been widespread disruption to flight and train travel. As of Thursday afternoon, he had 2,225 flights canceled and about 6,800 delayed in the US. The numbers were expected to continue rising as freezing weather hits the Midwest. Chicago and Denver airports had the most cancellations.

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durant told CBS News on Thursday, “Today was a very difficult day for the Delta team due to persistent rain in the Pacific Northwest.” Challenges occur at the hub and the forecast changes from overnight rain to snow.”

Unexpected light snowfall in the Dallas area caused further delays during deicing operations at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport.

Strong winds lift about 7.5 inches of fresh snow in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Paul International Airport workers prepare his Sun Country Airlines plane for its December 22, 2022 takeoff.

Star Tribune by David Joes/Getty Images

“This is nothing like those snowy days when you were a kid,” President Biden warned Thursday in the Oval Office after a briefing from federal officials. .”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday night, calling for “heavy rain and snow, high winds, coastal and lakeshore flooding, momentary freezing, very light wind chills and power outages.” “Everything can happen,” he said.

According to Cook, a bomb cyclone with a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure in a strong storm is expected to develop near the Great Lakes, creating winds and blizzard conditions.

Winter Storm, Minneapolis, December 2022
A man clears a sidewalk while another man clears snow with an electric sweeper in downtown Minneapolis on December 22, 2022.

Star Tribune by Alex Corman/Getty Images

Robert Oliver, an emergency manager for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, said tribal officials are working to clear roads to get propane and firewood to homes, but in some places it is more than 10 feet high. Said it was facing constant winds that caused it to drift.

“With this weather and the amount of equipment we have, it’s not enough,” Oliver said, rescuing those stranded at home early Thursday morning with heavy equipment hydraulic fluid temperatures in -41 degrees Celsius. I mentioned that I had to stop because it was freezing. wind chill.

He said five people have died in recent storms, including last week’s blizzard.

Democratic state legislator Sean Bordeaux said he was running out of propane heat at his home near Mission, a tribal reservation.

Temperatures were expected to drop sharply in Texas on Thursday, but state leaders promised not to repeat that. February 2021 Storm It overwhelmed the state’s power grid and was blamed for hundreds of deaths.

The cold wave reached El Paso and across the border to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There, migrants camp outside or fill shelters while they wait for the United States to decide whether to lift restrictions that have prevented many from seeking asylum.

Texas Power Grid Tested in Incoming Winter Cold
Transmission towers at a power plant near the Energy Research Park facility in Houston, Texas, December 22, 2022.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Elsewhere in the United States, officials are concerned about possible power outages, warning people to take precautions to protect the elderly, homeless and livestock, and to postpone travel if possible. Did. Some power companies were urging customers to lower their thermostats to save energy.

“This event could be life-threatening if you get stuck,” transportation and patrol officials reported dozens of crashes and vehicles off the road, according to an online post by Minnesota’s National Weather Service. reported.

The Michigan State Police prepared to deploy additional officers to help motorists. And along Interstate 90 in northern Indiana, a meteorologist had warned of blizzard conditions since Thursday night, so crew members said he was ready to clear as much as a foot of snow. rice field.

Among those whose flights were canceled was Ashley Sherrod, who had scheduled a flight from Nashville to Flint, Michigan, on Thursday afternoon. Sherrod is now considering whether to drive or take the risk of booking a flight for Saturday and fears it will be cancelled.

“I got a call from my family asking me to come home for Christmas, but I also want them to be safe,” Sherrod said. “Christmas is starting to get worse for lack of a better word.”

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Meanwhile, Amtrak has canceled more than 20 routes, mostly in the Midwest.

Some shelters in the Detroit area are already at capacity but still have space available.

And in Portland, Oregon, authorities have opened four emergency shelters. In the city’s downtown, Stephen Venus attempted to catch a light rail train to escape the cold after huddling on the sidewalk overnight as 40 mph winds dropped the temperature to his zero degrees each night. did.

“My toes were frozen,” he said, with a sleeping bag wrapped around his head, as he stopped near a flimsy tent where another homeless had taken refuge.

Union Gospel Mission spokeswoman Courtney Dodds said her organization’s team is trying to convince people to seek shelter.

“It’s really easy for people to doze off and fall asleep and die because of the cold weather.”

In Montana, temperatures dropped to minus 50 degrees at Elk Park, a trail on the Continental Divide. Schools and several ski resorts have announced closures, leaving thousands without power.

Near Big Sandy, Montana, rancher Rich Ross said he wasn’t too worried about his 3,500 pregnant cows weathering the cold weather, saying, “They’re very resilient animals.” , said they were acclimatizing to the weather.

In Buffalo, New York, which is notorious for its snowfall, heavy lake-induced snowfall, gusts of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), whiteouts and the possibility of major power outages have led forecasters to call a “once-in-a-generation storm.” ” was predicted. Mayor Byron Brown has urged people to stay home, and the NHL has postponed the Buffalo Sabers’ home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Denver, also accustomed to winter storms, was the coldest in 32 years on Thursday when morning temperatures at the airport dropped to minus 24 degrees Celsius.

A coastal flood warning was issued for Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina. A popular tourist destination with mild winters, the region endured strong winds and freezing temperatures.

Winter weather prevailed in Canada, Cause of delay or cancellation Beginning of the week at Vancouver International Airport. A major winter storm is expected in Toronto Friday through Saturday, with gusts of wind as high as 60 miles per hour and snow blowing, limiting visibility, Environment Canada said.

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