Arctic explosion, blizzard disrupt US travel before holiday According to Reuters
© Reuters. A man splashes hot boiling water on snow in Carbon County, Montana, U.S. December 22, 2022 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Twitter/ @MementoMori_JMJ/via REUTERS
By Rich McKay and Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – Arctic cold extended its reach to much of the United States on Friday, combined with snow, ice and howling winds from a deadly winter storm raging in the Midwest that disrupted disrupt the energy supply and impede the travel of millions of Americans before winter. weekend.
Severe winter weather, which prompted city governments across the country to open heating centers in libraries and police stations while scrambling to expand temporary shelters for the homeless, is believed to be the cause of the outbreak. cause at least five deaths on Friday.
A 50-vehicle pileup on the Ohio Turnpike during a blizzard near Toledo killed two motorists, injured several others and closed both lanes of the highway, state police reported.
According to the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department, stranded motorists were evacuated by bus to avoid freezing in their vehicles in sub-zero temperatures.
Three weather-related deaths have been confirmed in the neighboring state of Kentucky – two from car crashes and one homeless person dying from exposure.
“Please stay home and stay safe,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear wrote on Twitter when announcing the deaths.
With deep freezes extending from Montana to Texas as it creeps east, about 240 million people – more than two-thirds of the US population – were warned and advised for winter weather on Friday, National Weather Service (NWS) said.
The map of current or imminent winter hazards “depicts one of the largest levels of winter weather warnings and advisories ever,” the NWS said.
‘I GUESS IT IS COLD’
The nation’s coldest spot on Friday was the remote northern Montana town of Havre near the Canadian border, where the mercury rose from a low of 38 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 39 C) to minus 20 just before noon, NWS news.
Tyler Schaub, manager of Rod’s Drive Inn, admits as he flips burgers on the grill: “We’re used to it, but even so it’s best not to be outside for too long.”
The chill was intensified by high winds extending across the Deep South to the US-Mexico border, reducing wind chill factors to a single Fahrenheit (minus 18 to minus 13 degrees Celsius) in the border city of El Paso , Texas. Exposure to such conditions can cause frostbite within minutes.
Hard freeze warnings have been posted in southern Georgia and across most of the four Gulf Coast states – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
Further north, the storm system produced heavy snowfall from the Northern Plains and Great Lakes regions to the upper Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley, western New York State, and the northern and central mountains. Appalachian heart.
The storm front had entered New England, where wind-driven waves caused coastal flooding.
FRUIT, ENERGY, FLIGHT
Severe weather has added to a humanitarian crisis in many cities facing an influx of migrants who have crossed the US southern border with thousands in recent weeks and are homeless. Castle. Their plight added to local agencies scrambling to get people off the streets when the arctic blast arrived.
The family routines and holiday plans of ordinary Americans were also disrupted just days before Christmas.
According to tracking website Poweroutage.us, with the nation’s energy systems under strain due to increasing heat demand and storm-related damage to transmission lines, up to 1.5 Millions of US homes and businesses lost power on Friday.
Heating and energy prices skyrocketed as extreme weather forced cuts to energy production and bone-chilling cold sent demand soaring.
High winds, ice and snow have hampered commercial air traffic during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
More than 5,200 US flights were canceled on Friday, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Nearly 700 flights into or out of Seattle’s major airport were canceled as a separate storm system brought ice and cold rain to the Pacific Northwest.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) has estimated that 112.7 million people planned to travel 50 miles (80 km) or more from home Friday through January 2. That number will likely go down. reduced due to bad weather making traveling by air and by road more complicated. weekend.
Officials in the Buffalo area, on the shores of Lake Erie in western New York, issued a driving ban.
“If there’s any good news, it’s that the storm moved quickly through some areas,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told MSNBC on Friday. Many airports, such as Denver, are expected to bounce back quickly from a wave of delays and cancellations. He said other hubs like Chicago could recover later on Friday.
Last-minute holiday gift purchases can also have little chance of reaching their destination before Christmas.
FedEx (NYSE:), Postage Period Service (NYSE:), US Postal Service, and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:) have all warned customers that severe weather is disrupting key operations in Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, the Dakotas and areas Others were severely affected by cold and snowstorms.
Weather forecasters say the major Midwest storm has turned into a “bomb cyclone” – a phenomenon caused by a sharp and rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, forming a type of cold weather storm.
Weather service meteorologist Brian Hurley said that while some areas downwind from the Great Lakes saw 1 foot or more of snow on Friday, “the big story is not so much snow but so much snow.” is the blowing snow”.