A nearly week-long winter storm that blew through much of the United States plunged temperatures to life-threatening lows, bringing snowstorms and flooding, and blackouts for more than 250,000 people at Christmas.
Blizzard conditions persist across the Great Lakes, with frigid temperatures covering two-thirds of the eastern U.S. and several major cities in the Southeast, Midwest and East Coast experiencing their coldest Christmas in decades. is recording.
Much of the central and eastern United States is under Cold Warnings and Advisories, with freeze warnings in effect throughout the South.
At least 22 people have died since Wednesday due to unsafe weather conditions, and extreme cold temperatures have left some residents of the northeast on vacation without adequate heating or hot water. .
According to PowerOutage.us, as of 1 a.m. ET, 275,856 homes and businesses in the United States had no electricity, many in Maine and New York. Since the storm began, the number of service outages has exceeded one million customers at times.
Grid operators in at least 13 states in the eastern half of the country asked customers to conserve power and set their thermostats lower than normal from early Saturday morning to 10 a.m. Sunday.
The operator, PJM Interconnection, operates in the states of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Columbia Specialty. Serving approximately 65 million people in all or part of the ward. He warned that rolling blackouts may occur if the burden becomes too large.
In New York, utility companies Con Edison and Natural Grid US also urged customers to conserve energy, citing extreme weather conditions and increased energy demand for interstate pipelines that carry natural gas to the city.
Meanwhile, a power shortage in Texas prompted the U.S. Department of Energy to declare a state of emergency on Friday, allowing the state’s energy suppliers to exceed environmental emission standards until energy usage drops.
In Jackson, Mississippi, frigid temperatures hampered efforts to repair a major water main break late Saturday, causing low water pressure for residents, city officials said.
“I am grateful to the crews who braved this frigid temperature this Christmas Eve night and are working to restore pressure on the population. It is also highly appreciated by all affected residents,” the release said.
The brutal weather conditions disrupted travel even on busy holiday weekends, with more than 5,000 flights canceled on Friday, 3,400 on Saturday and 1,000 on Christmas.
In parts of the country, road conditions were not so good, with whiteout conditions and icy and snow-covered roads.
Blizzard conditions continued in Erie County, New York, and county administrator Mark Polonkers said the county was closed Friday night through Saturday morning despite the county’s driving ban during the storm. , noticed about 500 motorists stuck in their cars.
Polonkers said the National Guard was called in to help “rescue people stranded in vehicles” and pick up medical workers so they could rescue a colleague who had been working at the hospital for more than a day.
In Seattle, Washington, online videos show cars skidding and crashing on icy roads, as well as residents skidding on sidewalks, CNN affiliate KOMO reports. rice field.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said she will ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency after a severe winter storm.
“I ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency so that we can seek reimbursement for all overtime special costs and the fact that we brought in mutual aid from other parts of the state,” Ho-chul said. said reporter Saturday. “We have put individuals in place. Utility crews have come, but we also make sure we have all the vehicles we need.”
Three deaths linked to New York storms have been reported in Erie County. Two people died in separate incidents on Friday night after paramedics failed to get home in time for a medical emergency, Poloncarz said Saturday morning. Details about the third death confirmed by a county spokesperson were not immediately available.
“The loss of two lives in Buffalo in connection with the storm was another crisis unfolding as people were unable to get medical care, and emergency ambulances and emergency services were unavailable during the blizzard. We realize that paramedics can’t get close to people because of the situation,” Hochul added.
Other storm-related deaths have been reported nationally. They include:
• Colorado: Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have reported two cold-related deaths since Thursday.
• Kansas: Three people died in weather-related traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
• Kentucky: Authorities said three people died in the state, including a car accident in Montgomery County.
• Missouri: Kansas City Police said one person died when a caravan slid off an icy road and fell into an icy creek.
• Ohio: Eight people died as a result of weather-related car accidents. Those include an accident on Interstate 75 Saturday morning when his four semi-tractors and his trailer crossed the median and collided with an SUV and a pickup truck, it said. officials said.
• Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed one death related to the storm on Friday.
• Wisconsin: On Thursday, the Wisconsin State Patrol reported one fatality due to winter weather.
In Pictures: Winter Storms Affect US
The storm system is expected to weaken gradually as it rises over southeastern Canada and then move slowly over the next few days, pulling Arctic air from Canada into much of eastern Canada.
The Arctic blast, which is being felt in the eastern two-thirds of the country, will slowly abate until Monday, but the danger remains through Christmas Day.
The combination of cold weather and dangerous wind chill poses a potentially life-threatening hazard to stranded travelers, people working outdoors, livestock and pets, according to the National Weather Service.
“In some areas, being outdoors can cause frostbite within minutes,” warns the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Lake-influenced snow and blizzard conditions are expected to continue, but gradually weaken, as frigid air continues to sweep warmer waters from the Great Lakes.
Still, strong gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, initially with snow downwind from the Great Lakes, will continue to create very dangerous conditions on the roads.
Another low pressure system coming from the Pacific will head over the Pacific Northwest and then northern California from Christmas night through Monday, according to the Weather Service, bringing the next surge of moisture.
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