Winter storm in the US: at least 26 dead and power outages
Feels down to -48°C. A very severe winter storm accompanied by freezing temperatures, which affected the United States since Tuesday, continued to hit parts of the country on Saturday. It has killed at least 26 people, caused thousands of power outages and canceled hundreds of flights.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that the cold poses a risk of death and urged Americans in affected areas to stay indoors. According to the same source, the temperature dropped to -48 ° C on Friday due to the wind.
“The storm is expected to continue through the weekend before temperatures return to seasonal normals by the middle of next week,” the NWS said. Until then, “if you must travel or be outdoors, prepare for extreme cold by wearing multiple layers of clothing and covering as much skin as possible,” the weather service urged. “Being outside in places can cause frostbite within minutes. »
1500 flights were canceled this Sunday
Not all of the 26 victims officially registered by the authorities at this stage were directly affected by the cold, some of them died on the roads, which became very dangerous. Governor Mike DeWine said four people were killed in storm-related crashes in Ohio. A total of nine states reported deaths related to this exceptional winter storm.
In hard-hit New York, Gov. Cathy Hochul deployed the National Guard to Erie County and the state’s main city, Buffalo, where emergency services were paralyzed, officials said. The situation in Buffalo, located on the border with Canada, is particularly impressive.
A couple from the lakeside town said the roads were impassable and they would not make the ten-minute journey to visit family at Christmas. When the journey has to be done by plane, again there is complete congestion.
Air traffic is improving, with nearly 1,500 flights canceled on Sunday, compared with more than 3,400 the day before, according to monitoring site Flightaware.com. “The most extreme outages are over,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Twitter on Saturday.
Those are the words travelers stranded at airports like Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York cling to in hopes of a Christmas miracle.
Voltage in the electrical network
In American cities like Denver or Chicago, shelters have been opened to allow people in need to warm up and protect themselves from the risk of hypothermia. Due to extremely low temperatures, the pressure on the power grid was extremely high.
PJM, the operator in ten states of the American Northeast, urged the population to reduce their consumption all day Saturday to avoid outages. Some cities, particularly in North Carolina, had to temporarily cut power due to high electricity demand, leaving homes without heat, while temperatures are still very low.
In total, more than 200,000 homes were without power on the East Coast Sunday morning, particularly in Maine and New York, according to Poweroutage.us.
Same confusion in traffic on the Canadian side
Canada was also affected by the hurricane. The authorities also warned about severe weather conditions. Especially in Ontario and Quebec, 200,000 people were left without electricity.
Canada’s rail transport service, VIA Rail, said all trains from Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal would be suspended on Dec. 25 after the train derailed, while “extreme weather” caused numerous other cancellations.