Winter storm results in U.S. deaths, presents ‘life-threatening hazard’ for tourists

A damaging winter season storm knocked out power to 1.7 million houses and organizations throughout the United States on Saturday, left millions more to fret about the possibility of more blackouts and paralyzed cops, fire departments and an airport in snow-blown New York state.

Across the nation, authorities have actually associated a minimum of a lots deaths to direct exposure, icy auto accident and other results of the storm, consisting of 2 individuals who passed away in their houses outside Buffalo, New York, when emergency situation teams couldn’t reach them amidst historical blizzard conditions.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stated Saturday that the the Buffalo Niagara International Airport will be closed through Monday early morning, some roadways would be closed through Christmas day and nearly every fire engine in Buffalo was stranded in the snow.

“No matter how many emergency vehicles we have, they cannot get through the conditions as we speak,” Hochul stated.

Blinding blizzards, freezing rain and freezing cold likewise knocked out power from Maine to Seattle, while a significant electrical energy grid operator cautioned the 65 million individuals it serves throughout the eastern U.S. that rolling blackouts may be needed.

Pennsylvania-based PJM Interconnection stated power plants are having problem running in the freezing weather condition and has actually asked citizens in 13 states to avoid unneeded usage of electrical energy. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies electrical energy to 10 million individuals in Tennessee and parts of 6 surrounding states, directed regional power business on Saturday to carry out scheduled disturbances to “ensure power system reliability.”

Chris Muenks stated he and his felines awakened to a cold home in Greeneville, Tennessee on Saturday early morning. The power returned on, he stated, just to head out once again at midmorning in a prepared rolling blackout.

“I’m disappointed in my power grid. It feels like a kick in the gut,” Muenks stated. “I understand storms and I understand wind, but I don’t understand ‘don’t have enough power.’”

Across the 6 New England states, nearly 400,000 electrical clients stayed without power on Saturday early morning, with some energies alerting it might be days prior to power is brought back. In North Carolina, almost 370,000 clients lacked power, according to PJM Interconnection — which covers all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. — likewise cautioned rolling blackouts may be needed.

In the Buffalo suburban area of Cheektowaga, 2 individuals passed away in their houses on Friday when emergency situation teams might not reach them in time to treat their medical emergency situations, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

“This may turn out to be the worst storm in our community’s history,” Poloncarz stated Saturday early morning. “There are still likely hundreds of people stuck in vehicles.”

Poloncarz stated there is no emergency situation service readily available in Buffalo and numerous populated neighborhoods surrounding it since a lot of emergency situation cars are snowbound. He stated a medical professional needed to talk a female and her pregnant sibling through the shipment of the sibling’s child.

“That is not to say attempts aren’t being made, but there is no guarantee that in a life-threatening emergency situation that they’re going to be able to respond immediately,” Poloncarz stated.

Hochul late Friday revealed strategies to release 54 members of the National Guard to the location.

On the Ohio Turnpike, 4 passed away in an enormous pileup including some 50 cars A Kansas City, Missouri, motorist was eliminated Thursday after skidding into a creek, and 3 others passed away Wednesday in different crashes on icy northern Kansas roadways.

A female in Vermont passed away in a health center Friday after a tree broke in the high winds and fell on her. Police in Colorado Springs stated they discovered the dead body of an individual who seemed homeless as subzero temperature levels and snow came down upon the area.

Adding to the concerns were power blackouts that by early Saturday were still impacting more than 1.7 million houses and organizations, according to the site PowerOutage, which tracks energy reports.

The storm was almost unmatched in its scope, extending from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the U.S. population dealt with some sort of winter season weather condition advisory or caution, and temperature levels dropped significantly listed below typical from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, the National Weather Service stated.

Freezing rain layered much of the Pacific Northwest in a layer of ice, while individuals in the Northeast dealt with the risk of seaside and inland flooding.

The freezing temperature levels and gusty winds were anticipated to produce “dangerously cold wind chills across much of the central and eastern U.S. this holiday weekend,” the weather condition service stated, including that the conditions “will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded.”

As countless Americans were taking a trip ahead of Christmas, more than 5,700 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled Friday, according to the tracking website FlightAware. While in Mexico, migrants camped near the U.S. border in abnormally cold temperature levels as they waited for a U.S. Supreme Court choice on pandemic-era constraints that avoid lots of from looking for asylum.

Forecasters stated a bomb cyclone — when air pressure drops extremely rapidly in a strong storm — had actually established near the Great Lakes, stimulating blizzard conditions, consisting of heavy winds and snow.

Even individuals in Florida were braced for abnormally cold weather condition as unusual freeze cautions were provided for big parts of the state over the vacation weekend.


Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Associated Press reporter Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Corey Williams in Southfield, Michigan; John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Maysoon Khan in Albany, New York; and Hannah Schoenbaum in Raleigh, North Carolina added to this report.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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