Power outages, travel delays, blizzards hammer U.S.

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A family walks and runs through a winter snowstorm that affects much of the United States on December 23, 2022 in Flint, Michigan, USA.
A family walks through a winter storm on December 23, 2022 in Flint, Michigan. Photo: Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Extreme winter storms and Arctic outbreaks hit swaths of North America, leaving many parts of the United States facing frigid temperatures and a travel nightmare.

Big picture: Much of the country awoke on Christmas Eve to cold, power outages, travel delays and dangerous – lethal – weather conditions.

What we see: The winter storms that hit the United States later this week are now primarily affecting the upper Midwest and Northeast, and are raging through Canada.

  • At least 16 people were killed in the massive storm, CNN reported.
  • Buffalo, New York was in the middle of a historic blizzard that brought record snowfall and zero visibility. Thousands have lost power and many vehicles are stuck in the snow.
  • “The enhancement from the ice-free Great Lakes will help produce a total of two to four feet in the favorable snow belt,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin Saturday.
  • In some locations, gusts can approach or exceed 60 MPH, resulting in damage and power outages,” the NWS added.
power outages nationwide

1.5 million+ customers According to, a power outage woke me up on Saturday. By 3:00 p.m., that number had dropped to about 750,000.

  • Maine had the highest number of customers affected by power outages, with approximately 186,000 people without power.
  • North Carolina had the second most, with about 150,000 homes in the dark. The state is experiencing an “emergency shutdown” as extreme cold temperatures create a “high energy demand.” Duke Energy said Saturday.
Flight delays and cancellations while traveling on vacation

travel problems It’s happening across the country as many Americans try to reach out to friends and family on Christmas. There were thousands of flight delays and cancellations on Saturday, with more expected throughout the busy holiday weekend.

  • “Dangerously cold winds are blowing across much of the central and eastern United States this holiday weekend,” the NWS said. “Life-threatening cold and dangerous wind chill pose a potentially life-threatening hazard to stranded travelers, individuals working outside, livestock and pets.”
  • Four people died Friday as 46 vehicles piled up in Ohio due to extreme weather. Ohio Highway Patrol said.
Winter storm freezes US

winter storm spreading Winds and extreme cold have ravaged the United States this week, uprooting trees and power lines, creating life-threatening conditions in many parts of the country.

  • Regions from the Plains to the Gulf Coast to the Midwest experienced historic cooling. By Friday morning, more than 350 million Americans had received some kind of winter weather warning, he wrote, Axios’ Andrew Freedman.
  • “Temperatures will be 25 to 35 degrees cooler than average from east of the Rockies to the Appalachians,” the NWS said Saturday.
end of winter storm

Most areas should start decompressing Winter weather sweeps through the Northeast on Monday. Buffalo, for example, has a blizzard warning in place through Sunday.

  • According to the NWS, as the snowpack melts, heavy rains can fall on top of existing snow, potentially causing flooding in the inland and coastal areas of the northeast.
  • NWS encourages people to stay indoors during winter. But if travel is necessary, the NWS urges people to “wear layers to cover as much exposed skin as possible and pack a winter safety kit in your car.”
  • “In some areas, being outdoors can cause frostbite within minutes,” said the NWS.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional details regarding forecasted weather conditions.

Details from Axios:

These airlines have travel exemptions ahead of big winter storms

Arctic Explosion and Violent Winter Break Storm Hit US

Arctic blast bringing frigid temperatures to Colorado

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