Massive winter storm in the United States causes power outages and power outages

Tens of millions of Americans endured freezing temperatures, blizzard conditions, power outages and canceled holiday gatherings on Friday due to a winter storm that forecasters said was unprecedented in the its reach, exposing about 60% of the US population to some form of winter weather warning. . or warning

More than 200 million people were under a warning or advisory Friday, the National Weather Service said. The weather service map “represents one of the highest levels of winter weather warnings and advisories,” forecasters said.

Power outages have left about 1.4 million homes and businesses in the dark, according to the website PowerOutage, which tracks utility reports. Utilities in Nashville, Memphis and throughout the Tennessee Valley said they were implementing blackouts to save energy as the region battles an extreme cold front.

And more than 4,600 flights to, within or out of the United States were canceled Friday, according to tracking site FlightAware, causing more chaos as travelers try to get home for the holidays.

“We just have to stay positive. Anger is not going to help us at all,” said Wendell Davis, who plays basketball with a team in France and was waiting at O’Hare in Chicago on Friday after a series of flight cancellations . After her flight to Cincinnati was canceled Friday afternoon, Davis was considering renting a car and driving to Columbus as train service was suspended. But first he was trying to locate his luggage.

The enormous storm stretched from border to border. In Canada, WestJet canceled all flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. And in Mexico, migrants waited near the U.S. border in unseasonably cold temperatures as they awaited a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether and when to lift pandemic-era restrictions. … which prevent many from seeking asylum.

Meteorologists said a bomb cyclone, when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm, had developed near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions, including high winds and snow.

Although fleets of snow plows and salt trucks have been deployed, the driving was dangerous and sometimes deadly. The Kansas Highway Patrol said three people were killed in separate vehicle crashes in northern Kansas this week. The collisions occurred Wednesday evening as cold weather and snow moved through the region. The drivers involved in the crashes lost control of their vehicles on icy roads.

In Kansas City, Missouri, a driver died Thursday after skidding into a creek. Meanwhile, Michigan State Police reported several crashes Friday, including a pileup involving nine semi-trailers.

Activists were also rushing to get the homeless out of the cold. Nearly 170 adults and children were staying warm early Friday in Detroit in a shelter and warming center designed for 100 people.

“That’s a lot of extra people,” but “you can’t” turn anyone away, said Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services, which runs both facilities.

In Chicago, Andy Robledo planned to spend the day organizing efforts to check on homeless people through his nonprofit, Feeding People Through Plants. Robledo and volunteers build tents modeled after ice fishing tents, including a plywood subfloor.

“It’s not a house, it’s not an apartment, it’s not a hotel room. But it’s a big step up from what they had before,” Robledo said.

In Portland, Oregon, officials opened five emergency shelters. Downed trees and power lines have closed roads in the Portland metro area. And nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Interstate 84, a major highway through the Columbia River Gorge, was closed Friday morning.

All bus service was suspended Friday morning in the greater Seattle area. And DoorDash suspended delivery service due to hazardous conditions in parts of several states, including Minnesota and Iowa.

In far northern Indiana, lake-effect snow rolling into Lake Michigan could push storm totals to more than a foot in some areas Sunday, said Mark Steinwedel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Syracuse, Indiana.

“It’s really going to add up,” he said, predicting “a pretty awful ride.”

The weather service is predicting the coldest Christmas in more than two decades in Philadelphia, where school officials switched classes online Friday.

In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem activated the state National Guard Thursday afternoon to haul firewood from the Black Hills Forest Service to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe as some members were stranded in their homes with the fuel it was eating.

Other tribes were also struggling, including the Oglala Sioux tribe in the western part of the state, which used snowmobiles to reach members who live at the end of miles-long dirt roads.

But with vehicles breaking down in 10-foot drifts, officials were considering using horses to deliver essentials to some homes as they sought help from federal officials.

“It’s been a great fight so far,” Tribal Chairman Frank Star Comes Out said.

In Maine, gusts approaching 70 mph (113 km/h) were reported on the coast Friday morning. At the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the Northeast, winds exceeded 150 mph (2410 km/h). The governor closed state offices, ferry service to the islands in Casco Bay was suspended, and flooding prompted some water rescues.

In Boston, the rain combined with a high tide sent waves over the Long Wharf seawall in Boston and flooded some downtown streets.

With temperatures dropping to 7 degrees (-13.9 Celsius) early Friday in northern Mississippi, Kyle Young ditched the shorts he usually wears to work at a Starkville store that sells Mississippi State apparel and decor University.

“It’s cold here,” said Young, who bundled up in layers while doing brisk business with last-minute Christmas shoppers. “I can usually pull it off.”

In Jackson, Mississippi, the mayor had expressed concern that the city’s beleaguered water system, which has caused numerous water shortages in recent years, remained vulnerable to subfreezing temperatures. But while there have been some water main breaks, the main water plants “withstood the overnight temperature drop,” said city spokeswoman Melissa Faith Payne.

It was so bad in Vermont that Amtrak canceled service for the day and non-essential state offices closed early.

“I’m hearing from crews that are seeing growing trees uprooted,” Mari McClure, president of Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, said at a news conference.

Calling it a “kitchen sink storm,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Friday as winter weather hits the state.

In eastern Iowa, sportscaster Mark Woodley became a Twitter sensation after he was called out for doing live stunts in the wind and snow as sporting events were called off. By noon Friday, a compilation of his TV stand-ups had been viewed nearly 5 million times on Twitter.

“I have good news and bad news,” he told an anchor. “The good news is I can still feel my face right now. The bad news is I wish I couldn’t.”

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *