On Christmas Eve, yesterday Saturday, residents of several regions in the US were shivering from a severe winter storm that saw seventeen unfortunate fatalities and extensive delays in transportation. Thousands of flights were canceled while roads became impassable due to this Arctic onslaught.
According to the US National Weather Service’s forecast, this storm is predicted to continue until early next week before temperatures return back to normal seasonal levels by Wednesday.
On Saturday, approximately 530,000 houses were without power – down from the 1.5 million on Friday – particularly in North Carolina and Maine where temperatures plummeted below freezing.
48 degrees below zero
The US National Weather Service cautioned of the potential fatal risk these frigid temperatures posed, imploring affected area inhabitants to remain inside their dwellings. Reportedly, temperatures plummeted a staggering 48 degrees Celsius below zero.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck as at least 17 people in eight states lost their lives due to adverse weather conditions.
For the first time in decades, an unprecedentedly violent storm ripped through our country on Wednesday night. Along with it came icy polar winds that brought massive snowfall to a number of areas, particularly near the Great Lakes region.
Saturday witnessed a staggering 3,300+ flight cancellations and an additional 7,500 delays. Adding to this travel chaos was Friday’s cancellation of nearly 6,000 flights reported by the tracking website Flight-Aware. It appears that air travelers had no luck with their weekend plans!
On Saturday, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg encouraged travelers across the nation with his announcement that airports such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York are gradually returning to regular operations – meaning that the disruptive effects of COVID-19 appear to be behind us.
Strong wind combined with heavy snow storm worst in decades hits USA electricity power network and millions are without electricity in a bone chilling climate. Life without electricity is hell in these conditions. It is reported that already 9 people lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/fB2ZLYiTR8— RAMESH (@krameshkannan) December 25, 2022
In many US cities, including Denver and Chicago, shelters have been opened to provide warmth for those in need and safeguard them from the peril of hypothermia.
The frigid temperatures have caused an immense burden on the power grid, rendering it to its breaking point.
On Saturday, the electricity distribution company “Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection,” which serves ten states in the northeast United States, urged its customers to be mindful of their energy consumption and reduce usage throughout the day to prevent any blackouts.
Unfortunately, certain cities in North Carolina were compelled to shut off power due to overwhelming energy requirements, leaving countless households without heat.
According to the weather service, a storm is predicted to persist until the weekend’s conclusion and temperatures should return back to their usual rate sometime in midweek.
She further added that until then, “if traveling or going outdoors is essential, one must dress accordingly by wearing several layers of clothing and covering as much skin as possible,” explaining that “in some places, being outside can lead to frostbite in mere minutes.”
Canada experienced devastating effects of the storm, which prompted authorities to call for a severe weather warning. Hundreds of thousands in Ontario and Quebec were left powerless while airports in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal canceled numerous flights.
On Christmas Day, ViaRail announced that all trains traveling from Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal would be suspended due to an unfortunate train derailment caused by extreme weather conditions. As a result of this announcement, numerous other cancellations had to take place.
In Toronto, Kelsey McEwen reported waves of an astonishing eight meters high on Lake Erie. Similarly in Fairport Harbor, Ohio – also situated by the lake – wind speeds were up to 120 kilometers per hour according to the US Weather Service.