A winter storm that has gripped much of the United States for nearly a week has plunged temperatures to life-threatening lows, brought blizzards and flooding and left more than a quarter of a million people without power on Christmas Day.
As snowstorms continued across the Great Lakes, frigid temperatures gripped the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., with some major cities in the Southeast, Midwest and East Coast enjoying their coldest Christmas in decades.
Large swaths of the central and eastern U.S. remain under wind chill warnings and advisories as freeze warnings are in place across the south.
New York City saw record low temperatures at several locations on Christmas Eve, including JFK and LaGuardia airports.With a high of 15 degrees in Central Park, it was the second coldest Dec. 24 in at least 150 years, according to National Weather Service.
At least 22 people have died from dangerous weather conditions since Wednesday, with some residents in the Northeast going through the holidays without enough heat or hot water as extremely cold temperatures persist.
As of 1 a.m. ET, 275,856 homes and businesses were without power across the U.S., many in Maine and New York state, according to PowerOutage.us. The number of customers without power has at times exceeded 1 million since the storm began.
Grid operators in at least 13 states in the eastern half of the country are asking customers to conserve electricity and set thermostats lower than usual between early Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday because usage is already at its peak.
Carrier PJM Interconnection for Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia It serves some 65 million people in all or part of the region and warned that rolling blackouts could occur if the stress becomes too high.
In New York, utilities Con Edison and Natural Grid US also urged customers to conserve energy, citing extreme weather conditions and increased energy demand on the interstate pipelines that carry natural gas to the city.
Meanwhile, power shortages in Texas prompted the U.S. Department of Energy to declare a state of emergency on Friday, allowing energy suppliers in the state to exceed environmental emissions standards until energy use falls.
In Jackson, Mississippi, frigid temperatures hampered work late Saturday to repair a large water main break that caused water pressure to drop for residents, city officials said.
“We thank staff for braving freezing temperatures this Christmas Eve while working hard to restore residents to stress. Their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed and is appreciated not only by this administration but by every resident affected,” The press release said.
Severe weather conditions also affected travel over the busy holiday weekend, with more than 5,000 flights canceled on Friday, 3,400 on Saturday and more than 1,000 on Christmas Day.
Road conditions in parts of the country aren’t much better, amid snow, icy and snow-covered roads.
In storm-ravaged Erie County, N.Y., about 500 motorists drove from Friday night to Saturday morning despite the county’s driving ban during the storm, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Trapped in the car.
Poloncarz said National Guard troops were called in to help “rescue people trapped in their vehicles” and provide rides to medical staff so they could replace colleagues who had been in the hospital for more than a day.
In Seattle, Washington, online video captured cars sliding and crashing into each other on icy roads and residents slipping and falling while walking on sidewalks, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.
New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency after a severe winter storm.
“I’m going to ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency, which will allow us to seek reimbursement for all the additional costs of overtime and the fact that we’re bringing in mutual aid from the rest of the state,” Hochul told reporters. Reporter Saturday. “We’ve deployed people – the utilities have come, but also making sure we have all the vehicles we need.”
Erie County reported three storm-related deaths in New York State. Poloncarz said Saturday morning that two people died in separate incidents Friday night after emergency medical personnel were unable to get home in time to deal with a medical emergency. A county spokesman confirmed details of the third death Saturday afternoon, but were not immediately available.
“Losing two lives in Buffalo – related to the storm – because people couldn’t get medical help, again the crisis situation that you see before your eyes, you realize that lifesaving ambulances and emergency medical personnel can’t get to people in a snowstorm situation, ’ added Hochul.
The country also reported other storm-related deaths. They include:
• ColoradoPolice in Colorado Springs, Colo., report two cold-related deaths since Thursday, with a man found near an electrical transformer in a building he may have sought to heat and another A man is in the camp in the alley.
• Kansas: Three people died in a weather-related crash, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
• Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, including one in a car crash in Montgomery County, officials said.
• Missouri: One person died after a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek, Kansas City police said.
• OhioWASHINGTON: Eight people died in weather-related crashes, including one on Interstate 75 Saturday morning when a semi-tractor trailer crossed the center line and collided with an SUV and a pickup, authorities said.
• Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed one death related to the storm on Friday.
• the state of WisconsinWASHINGTON: The Wisconsin State Patrol reported a fatal car crash Thursday caused by winter weather.
In pictures: Winter storms affecting the US
The storm system is expected to gradually weaken as it moves into southeastern Canada, moving slowly over the next few days and pulling arctic air from Canada into much of the eastern part of the country.
The arctic storm felt in the eastern two-thirds of the country will slowly weaken on Monday, but dangerous conditions will continue until Christmas.
The frigid temperatures combined with dangerous wind chills will be potentially life-threatening for stranded travelers, people working outdoors, livestock and pets, according to the National Weather Service.
“In some areas, being outdoors can cause frostbite within minutes,” the Bureau of Meteorology warned.
Lake-effect snow and blizzard conditions are expected to continue, but taper off in intensity, as frigid air continues to blow over the warm waters of the Great Lakes.
Still, initial wind gusts of up to 60 mph coupled with snow from the Great Lakes will continue to create extremely dangerous conditions on the roads.
According to the weather service, from Christmas Eve to Monday, another low-pressure system from the Pacific Ocean will send the next tidal wave to the Pacific Northwest and then into northern California.