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A severe winter storm continued to engulf much of the United States on Saturday, bringing blinding snowstorms, freezing rain, flooding and life-threatening cold, wreaking havoc on those traveling for the Christmas holidays.
A storm that arrived earlier in the week brought power lines down, littered highways with piles of cars in deadly accidents, and led to massive flight cancellations.
The storm was nearly unprecedented in its extent, from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande River along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the U.S. population faced some kind of winter weather advisory or warning, with temperatures well below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, the National Weather Service said.
Freezing rains blanketed much of the Pacific Northwest with layers of ice, and people in the Northeast faced the threat of coastal and inland flooding.
Frigid temperatures and gusty winds are expected to bring “dangerously cold winds to many parts of the central and eastern United States this holiday weekend,” according to the Bureau of Meteorology, a situation that could pose a “life-threatening threat to travelers.” It could pose a possible danger,” he added. left behind.
“In some areas, being outdoors can cause frostbite within minutes,” he said.
The power outage was still affecting more than 1 million homes and businesses by late Friday, according to PowerOutage, a website that tracks utility reports.
As millions of Americans traveled before Christmas, more than 5,700 flights in and out of the US were canceled on Friday, according to tracking site FlightAware.
An American Airlines plane is being deiced as high winds blow off about 7.5 inches of fresh snow in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Thursday 22nd December 2022.
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Multiple highways were closed and at least six people were killed in crashes, officials said. At least two people died after about 50 vehicles were caught on an Ohio turnpike. A Kansas City, Missouri, driver died Thursday after skidding into a creek, and three others died Wednesday in another crash on icy roads in northern Kansas.
In Canada, WestJet canceled all flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday after meteorologists warned of a potential once-in-a-decade weather event. While in Mexico, migrants camped near the U.S. border, awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision on pandemic-era restrictions that have prevented many from seeking asylum.
Weather forecasters say a bomb cyclone, a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure during a storm, has formed near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions such as high winds and snow.
Even people in Florida were gearing up for unusually cold weather as a rare freeze warning was issued for much of the state over the holiday weekend.
Activists scrambled to save homeless people from the cold. Early Friday morning, nearly 170 adults and children were keeping warm at her 100-person shelter and warming center in Detroit.
“It’s a lot of extra manpower,” said Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services, which runs both facilities, but no one had the option to refuse.
Emergency weather shelters in Portland, Oregon called for volunteers amid high demand and staffing issues as snow, freezing rain, ice, and frigid temperatures hit the area.
South Dakota Gov. Christy Noem said the National Guard is deploying to help bring lumber and clear snow to the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes.
Wayne Boyd, Chief of Staff to President Rosebud Hsu said:
On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a 12-foot (3.6-meter) snowdrift blocked the house, so Harley Young, her five children, and her father gathered around a wood stove.
“We’re just trying to see the bright side that they’re still coming and they haven’t forgotten us,” she said Friday.
Calling it a “kitchen sink storm,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency. In parts of New York City, storm surge flooded roads, homes and businesses Friday morning.
In Boston, storm surge and rain on Friday flooded some downtown streets.