The extreme weather has heavily disrupted traffic and caused massive power outages across the country.
A major winter storm engulfed most of the US on Saturday, disrupting holiday travel and utilities as well as leaving some 1.7 million homes without electricity. At least 16 people have died as temperatures plunged as low as -45C in some parts of the country.
The storm, described by forecasters as a “bomb cyclone,” has been caused by a collision of warm, moist air coming from the south with cold, dry air from the north.
It has hit from the US east coast, spanning for some 2,000 miles (over 3,200 km) from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the US-Mexico border, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Temperatures dropped well below normal ranges, with blizzards, strong winds and flooding observed across the country. At some locations, the temperatures reached outright extreme readings, with -38C reported in Iowa and -45.6C in Montana.
-45C ‘bomb cyclone’ sweeps US leaving millions without power.
A powerful winter storm claims at least 19 lives across the US as temperatures plunge,
Power cuts and travel misery in the US and Canada amid freezing winter storm, thousands of canceled flights. pic.twitter.com/A8hYvxXJIU
— blueocean (@blue_ocean_ca) December 24, 2022
At least 16 deaths across the US have been already attributed to the extreme weather, local media reported citing officials. The majority of the deaths were caused by fatal road accidents in states including Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Ohio.
NEW VIDEO: A 50 car pile up on the Ohio Turnpike has left at least one dead on Friday.
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) December 23, 2022
The storm has caused widespread power outages that have affected around 1.7 million homes. Travel has been heavily affected as well, with more than 7,000 flights delayed and nearly 3,500 outright canceled. The NWS has warned Americans against attempting to travel by car, stating the bad weather has made it “impossible” in certain locations.
“Where blizzard conditions occur, expect periodic whiteouts with near-zero visibility and considerable blowing and drifting of snow. Traveling in these conditions will be extremely dangerous, to at times impossible,” the service warned.