Savage US blizzard leaves 32 dead, power outages, travel snarls

NEWYORK: The devastating winter storm that brought Christmas chaos to millions of Americans will fade, the US National Weather Service said on Monday, after heavy and cold snow caused power outages, halting travel and at least 32 deaths across the eastern part of the country.
“Most of the East USA will remain in a deep freeze until Monday before the regulatory trend kicks in on Tuesday,” the NWS said in its latest advisory.
In Buffalo, western New York, a blizzard left the city covered with emergency services unable to reach the worst-affected areas.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo, where there was 8 foot (2.4 meters) of snow and power outages, said: “It was like going into a war zone, and vehicles were running along both sides of the road. incredible”. taken for life-threatening conditions.
Hochul told reporters Sunday night that residents were still in a “very life-threatening situation” and warned anyone in the area to stay indoors.
More than 200,000 people in several eastern states awoke to power outages on Christmas morning, and many more had to postpone holiday travel plans, despite the five-day storm with blizzard conditions and heavy snowfall. The fierce wind showed signs of easing.
Severe weather sent wind chill temperatures in all 48 contiguous US states below freezing over the weekend, stranding travelers on holiday with thousands of flights canceled and residents stranded. trapped in houses covered with ice and snow.
Thirty-two weather-related deaths have been confirmed across nine states, including at least 13 in Erie County where Buffalo is located, with officials warning the number is certain to rise. go up.
Officials have described historically dangerous conditions in the frequently snowy Buffalo region, with power outages lasting hours and bodies being discovered in vehicles and under snowbanks as Emergency workers try to find people who need to be rescued.
The city’s international airport remains closed through Tuesday, and the driving ban remains in effect for the entirety of Erie County.
“We now have what will be talked about not only today but for generations (like) the blizzard of 22,” Hochul said, adding that the ferocity had outstripped the blizzard. calculated the area’s previous landmark in 1977 in terms of “wind intensity, duration, intensity.”
Due to frozen substations, some residents are not expected to have power back until Tuesday, with one substation reported to be buried under 18 feet of snow, a senior official said. of the county said.
The NWS earlier warned that blizzard conditions in the Great Lakes area west of New York continued into Sunday, with “an additional 2 to 3 feet of snow (Sunday night)”.
A couple in Buffalo, across the border with Canada, told AFP on Saturday that with roads completely impassable, they wouldn’t be able to drive 10 minutes to see family for Christmas.
“It was difficult because the conditions were so bad… many fire departments didn’t even send a truck to call,” the 40-year-old said. Rebecca Bortolin.
According to tracking website, the storm forced cancellations of nearly 3,000 flights in the US on Sunday, in addition to about 3,500 cancellations on Saturday and nearly 6,000 on Friday.
More than 1,000 US flights were canceled just hours on Monday, the website reported.
Travelers remained stranded or delayed at airports throughout Christmas Day, including at major hubs in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York.
Frozen roads and power outages also resulted in the temporary closure of some of the nation’s busiest transit routes, including the transnational Interstate 70.
Drivers have been warned not to take to the streets – even as the country reaches its busiest travel time of the year.
Severe weather has severely impacted the power grid, with many power providers urging millions to reduce usage to mitigate rotating blackouts in places like North Carolina and Tennessee.
At one point on Saturday, nearly 1.7 million customers were without power in the flesh-and-blood cold, tracking
That number fell dramatically Sunday night, though more than 50,000 customers in the eastern states are still without power.
The harsh winter conditions are also taking their toll in Canada.
A weekend bus crash in British Columbia believed to have been caused by a runway left four people dead and 53 hospitalized, with two still in critical condition early Sunday morning.
Hundreds of thousands of people lost power in Ontario and Quebec, flights were canceled in major cities and passenger train service between Toronto and Ottawa has been suspended.


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