A devastating winter storm continues to wreak havoc in the Upper Midwest and the Northeastern interior of the United States, leaving in its wake heavy snowfall and blizzards that have claimed the lives of at least 16 people.
Authorities report that the number of victims is increasing, causing human tragedies and logistical challenges in various affected regions. The epicenter of the storm in Erie County, New York, has seen particularly grim consequences, with three people having lost their lives in relation to the extreme weather. Two of them died in separate incidents, on the eve of the tragedy, when emergency medical personnel were unable to reach them on time. A third death related to the storm was confirmed on Saturday afternoon.
The Wisconsin State Patrol also reported a tragic fatal accident attributed to the winter weather last Thursday. Meanwhile, four people lost their lives in weather-related car accidents in Ohio, adding to the storm’s death toll. Kentucky is mourning the loss of three people, while in Kansas, three individuals died in traffic accidents linked to the harsh weather conditions. Another person lost their life in Kansas when their caravan skidded off the icy road and into a frozen stream.
The tragedy extends beyond human loss, as the storm has left nearly 800,000 people without electricity. As of 3:15 pm ET on Saturday, PowerOutage.US reported that 755,210 customers were still without power. New England is the most affected region, with 281,651 customers in the dark, facing adverse conditions and freezing temperatures. In addition, thousands of flights across the country continue to experience delays and cancellations due to the extreme weather conditions.
According to FlightAware, more than 2,600 flights have been canceled as of Saturday afternoon, with over 6,000 experiencing significant delays. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one of the busiest in the country, is among the hardest hit due to the storm. The weather forecast for Christmas Eve in parts of the U.S. has raised concerns, with the National Weather Service warning that freezing temperatures and dangerous wind chills will create potentially life-threatening conditions for stranded travelers.
The forecast indicates that there will be bitter cold, with dangerously cold wind chills in much of the central and eastern U.S. this weekend. Experts predict record-low temperatures in Atlanta and Tallahassee, Florida. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh experienced their coldest Christmas Eve ever on Saturday, according to CNN. Furthermore, Washington, DC, may experience its second-coldest Christmas Eve, along with New York and Chicago, all facing a frigid holiday.
The impact of the winter storm on travel, power supplies, and daily life is expected to continue, posing challenges and hardships for affected communities. Stay informed about weather conditions and travel advisories to ensure safety during these extreme weather events.