A massive winter storm hit the US on Friday with cold temperatures, strong winds, and heavy snow. At least nine people died, and over a million people lost power. This messed up holiday plans from coast to coast. The storm, which is moving through the Midwest and East and is expected to get worse as it goes, is making the roads dangerous with low visibility and icy streets. Flooding along the coast is also a problem, especially along the beaches of the Northeast.
All kinds of travel, including planes, trains, and cars, were being messed up: Hundreds of miles of roads were closed, and the number of canceled flights was going up quickly. Flooding along the Long Island Rail Road in New York shut down part of the Long Beach branch for a while.
Mick Saunders, who lives in Buffalo, New York, said, “Christmas is canceled” two hours into a blizzard that is expected to last until Sunday morning. “My family and friends all agreed that this way is safer.” There have been at least nine deaths since Wednesday.
Lt. Candice Breshears, a spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol, said that three people died in separate car accidents in north-central Kansas on Wednesday evening. One death was confirmed to be weather-related, and two ends are thought to be weather-related but need more investigation.
The Kansas City Police Department says that one person died Thursday afternoon when they lost control of their Dodge Caravan on icy roads. “The Dodge went down the slope, over the cement wall, and landed upside down in Brush Creek,” the police said in a statement.
Gov. Andy Beshear said that the storm killed three people in Kentucky. Two died in car accidents, and the third was a person in Louisville with no place to live. The man’s body was found outside with no apparent signs of trauma. Police said an autopsy would be done to determine what caused the man’s death.
And in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine says that four people have died “because of weather-related car accidents,” and many others have been hurt. The cold that could kill people has reached the Gulf Coast and the border with Mexico. Wind chills below zero have been reported as far south as Austin and Atlanta. As the Arctic blast peaks, many places in the eastern US will have their coldest Christmas Eve in decades.
According to the website PowerOutage.US, more than a million people in the US are without power because of the cold and winter weather. Most people are without power in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
More than 200 million people in the US were under wind chill alerts from the Canadian to the Mexican border and from Washington state to Florida. By Friday, wind chills in the Southeast were expected to be below zero. There are also alerts for blizzards, ice, snow, and flooding because of the winter weather. The National Weather Service said Thursday that its Watch Warning graphic shows one of the widest ranges of winter weather warnings and advisories ever.
For many, Christmas Eve Was The Coldest Ever
In the past two days, wind chills have already been below -50 degrees Fahrenheit in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Early Friday afternoon, weather reports from all over the state said the temperature was below freezing everywhere in Texas.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told people that winter weather is an “epic, statewide hazard.” On Friday afternoon, Hochul said at a press conference, “I called it a kitchen sink storm because it’s throwing everything but the kitchen sink at us.” “This weekend, we had everything Mother Nature could throw at us: ice, flooding, snow, freezing temperatures, and more.”
At Brian Trzeciak’s home in Hamburg, New York, the storm was “living up to the warnings.” Friday around noon, there was no visibility at the airport just north of Buffalo. “There’s no visibility, it’s cold, and the waves look like they would during a hurricane,” he told CNN.
Because of the storm’s danger, he and his family decided to cancel their Christmas plans. “My mother lives about 30 minutes away, and my sister and her family live the other way, about 30 minutes away,” he said. “We always get together on Christmas Eve and Day, but until Monday, we’re all hiding out in our homes.”
In Western New York, driving is not allowed in Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans counties because it is too foggy to see. Up to 250 people in Erie County could be stuck in their cars, putting first responders in danger, according to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Brown told CNN on Friday night that 36 to 48 inches of snow are expected. Wind gusts in the area have reached 79 mph.
The National Weather Service says that on December 24, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Tallahassee, Florida, will all have their coldest high temperature ever recorded. This will be a cold holiday for many people.
It will be the second coldest Christmas Eve in Washington, DC, after 1989. It will be the most frigid Christmas Eve in New York since 1906. Even though temperatures are expected to rise above zero, Christmas Eve in Chicago will still be the coldest since 1983. On Christmas Day, the cold will be the worst in many Florida. Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and West Palm Beach will have their coldest Christmas Day since 1983.
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