U.S. deep freeze forecast to break Christmas Eve records

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24 December (Reuters) – Arctic storms that hit much of the United States this week are expected to bring the coldest Christmas Eve on record to several cities from Pennsylvania to Florida.

Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania’s largest city, hit a record high of 8 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 degrees Celsius) on Friday, surpassing the record Christmas Eve temperature of 13 degrees set by the National Weather Service in 1983. is predicted. (NWS) said.

The capitals of Florida and Georgia, Tallahassee and Atlanta, are also expected to see their coldest daytime highs on Christmas Eve, while Washington, DC is projected to experience its coldest December 24th since 1906. was

A surge in Yuletide temperature records was predicted as frigid temperatures in the United States, snapped by dangerous wind chills, continued to engulf much of the eastern two-thirds of the United States over the holiday weekend.

A combination of Arctic cold and a “cyclone bomb” of heavy snow, combined with ferocious winds that blew from the Great Lakes region into valleys in northern Mississippi and Ohio on Friday wreaked havoc on power systems, roads and commercial air traffic.

At least five people died on Friday due to extreme winter weather.

Two drivers were killed and many others injured when 50 vehicles collided during a blizzard near Toledo that closed the Ohio Turnpike in both directions. Officials said the stranded driver had to evacuate the bus to avoid freezing inside. .

Three more weather-related deaths were confirmed in neighboring Kentucky. Two were from car accidents and one homeless person died from exposure.

Freezing rain and ice from another storm in the Pacific Northwest also made traveling there dangerous on Friday.

border to border

In all, about 240 million people from Canada to the Mexican border and coast to coast had winter weather warnings or advisories on Friday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The NWS said the map of current or impending weather hazards “shows one of the largest ranges of winter weather warnings and advisories ever.”

As many as 1.5 million US homes and businesses were without power on Friday, according to tracking site, as rising heat demand and storm-related damage to power lines strained the nation’s energy system.

The disruption has upended the daily lives and vacation plans of millions of Americans in one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

The American Automobile Association estimated that between Friday and January 2, 112.7 million people plan to travel more than 50 miles (80 km) from their homes.

More than 5,700 US flights were canceled on Friday, according to flight tracking service FlightAware, while snowstorm conditions effectively paralyzed road travel in some areas.

The city of Buffalo and surrounding counties on the shores of Lake Erie in western New York state has banned motor vehicles, and all three border crossing bridges in the Buffalo area have blocked traffic from Canada due to bad weather. did.

Bad weather has spurred authorities across the country to open warming centers in libraries and police stations and expand temporary shelters for the homeless. The problem has been exacerbated by the influx of thousands of migrants across the US southern border in recent weeks.

In El Paso, Texas, severe cold was intensified by strong winds that blew through the deep south to the U.S.-Mexico border, dropping wind chills to single-digit degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -13 degrees Celsius). Exposure to such conditions can cause frostbite within minutes.

Reported by Rich McKay of Atlanta. Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter, Tim Reid, Lisa Baertlein, Erwin Seba, Susan Heavey, Laila Kearney, Alyson McClaren, Aleksandra Michalska, and Scott DiSavino. Written by Steve Gorman.Edited by Jonathan Ortiz, Aurora Ellis and William Mallard

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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