A violent arctic storm with low temperatures and lots of snow keeps the USA in suspense. At least 17 people have died so far, and hundreds of thousands are without power. First responders have sometimes stuck in the snow themselves.
They are familiar with snow in Buffalo, New York: You can deal with it here, says Mark Poloncarz. But this is something completely different, the Erie County official told CNN — with the blizzard and conditions where you can’t see anything anymore.
A freezing snowstorm is raging on the northeastern end of Lake Erie in upstate New York. Although there is a driving ban there, hundreds of people would have been stuck in cars overnight. The problem: Two-thirds of the first responders sent out to help people in life-threatening situations got stuck themselves. Therefore the advice: Don’t call for help for no reason – and above all stay at home.
State of emergency declared in several states
A cold front has been moving across the United States for days. It brings snow, rain, black ice, severe storms, storm surges, and, above all, cold. More than 1.5 million households and companies started the Christmas weekend without electricity. According to the Power Outage website, the entire east has been affected, but mainly the states of Maine, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
A state of emergency was declared in Tennessee and many other states and the National Guard was mobilized to help stuck drivers, for example. Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, says he can’t remember it ever being so cold for so long: below zero degrees Fahrenheit, meaning minus 17 degrees Celsius and colder. At the moment it is minus ten there.
High temperatures are expected in the coming week
US media reports that 17 people have died so far, most in weather-related traffic accidents. Around 6,000 flights had already been canceled on Friday, and another 10,000 were delayed. This morning local time, the Flight Aware website reported nearly 2,000 flights canceled and more than 3,000 delayed.
Snowfall is expected to continue on the Great Lakes. Severe storms and freezing cold are expected to continue from the Midwest to the Northeast, according to the National Weather Service. On the back of the cold front, temperatures are already rising again. This time next week, on New Year’s Eve, there could even be above-average temperatures in many areas.