More than 755,000 homes and businesses across the country were without power on Christmas Eve afternoon thanks to arctic and winter storms that knocked out power lines, damaging winds and snow and dangerously low temperatures – killing at least 16 people.
As biting air continues to hang over the U.S. this holiday weekend, the storm is still battering parts of the upper Midwest and interior Northeast with heavy snow and blizzards.
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Especially in the Buffalo, NY area, heavy snow (more than 2 feet in some places) and strong winds (sometimes over 60 mph) brought near-zero visibility Friday through Saturday at times. Saturday could see more than a foot of rain, with wind gusts of up to 65 mph and temperatures well below zero.
In Buffalo’s county, about 500 motorists found themselves trapped in their vehicles between Friday night and Saturday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told CNN. “Hundreds of people” may still be trapped by early Saturday afternoon. Despite a county driving ban in place during the storm.
Lia Belles’ 85-year-old grandmother and her father were trapped inside.
They had been stuck on New York State Route 198 in Buffalo — less than a mile from her home — since Friday afternoon. Contact with them is limited because of their phone batteries, and they’re constantly turning the heat on and off to save gas.
“I don’t want anything now but their safety,” Bells told CNN on Saturday, adding that her father could walk home but he would never leave his mother alone .
“I’ve tried walking to them with a sled, but it’s impossible on my own terms,” she said.
By Saturday afternoon, they got help to get the car out, but there was no way to get them out, Belles said.
“It was very nerve-wracking and difficult,” she said. “They’re definitely exhausted, but we’re seeing a little bit of hope now.”
In the hardest-hit areas, many emergency workers trying to reach those stranded were trapped, Poloncarz said.
“Don’t leave your home,” Poloncarz told CNN on Saturday to anyone considering traveling to or within the area. “It’s much safer to stay indoors, even if you lose power when it’s only 45 degrees inside, than to go out and deal with wind chill and blinding conditions at -20 degrees.”
Poloncarz said the National Guard arrived Saturday to “rescue people trapped in their vehicles” and provide rides to medical staff so they can replace colleagues who have been at the hospital for more than a day.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher of the Diocese of Buffalo urged churches to broadcast live Christmas Mass Saturday because of inclement weather.
he passed Twitter.
Even where it wasn’t snowing and howling, temperatures and wind chills were dangerously low across much of the country.
According to the National Weather Service, wind chill was below zero after sunrise Saturday morning across parts of the Plains and Midwest to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and even in the Southeast.
• Atlanta: 9 degrees; minus eight degrees wind chill
• memphis: 10 degrees; minus four wind chill
• New York City: 8 degrees; minus eight degrees wind chill
• British stone.Louis: 9 degrees; minus 12 wind chill
• Washington DC: 12 degrees; with minus 3 wind chill
At least 16 people have died in seven states since Wednesday, the result of dangerous and life-threatening conditions in swaths of the country this week:
• Kansas: Three people died in a weather-related crash, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
• Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, including one in a car crash in Montgomery County, officials said.
• Missouri: One person died after a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek, Kansas City police said.
• New York: Three people have died in Erie County due to the storm, Erie County officials said Saturday. Poloncarz said Saturday morning that two people died in separate incidents Friday night after emergency medical personnel were unable to get home in time to deal with a medical emergency. A county spokesman confirmed details of the third death Saturday afternoon, but were not immediately available.
• Ohio: Four people died “in weather-related crashes,” the governor said. McDwin said.
• Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed one death related to the storm on Friday.
• the state of WisconsinWASHINGTON: The Wisconsin State Patrol reported a fatal car crash Thursday caused by winter weather.
In pictures: Winter storms affecting the US
755,210 homes and businesses as of 3:15 p.m. ET Saturday In the United States According to PowerOutage.us, there was no electric service, which means millions of people may not have proper heat or hot water due to persistently low temperatures Saturday.
Grid operators in at least 13 states in the eastern half of the country asked customers to conserve power from early Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday because usage was already overloaded – and warned that rolling blackouts could occur if the stress gets too high.
Carrier PJM Interconnection for Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia Serving approximately 65 million people in all or part of China.
PJM recommends that people set their thermostats lower than usual and delay using major appliances like stoves and dishwashers.
in seconds video on twittera company official said the risk of customer rolling outages was “very real.”
In Tennessee, utilities intermittently cut power to customers for several hours Saturday morning at the request of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the state’s federally-owned electricity provider, as cold weather strained capacity.
Nashville Electric Service Tell Customers were expecting “rotating, intermittent outages” every 90 minutes to two hours on Saturday morning, with each outage lasting about 10 minutes.
TVA’s announcement shortly before 11 a.m. Central time that the outage was No longer needed.
In a statement, TVA said it would “conduct a thorough review of our processes, procedures and preparations” once we get through this unprecedented event.
During a rolling blackout, the mayor of Nashville asked the NFL’s Tennessee Titans to postpone their scheduled Saturday noon CT home game against the Houston Texans. The NFL delayed the start of the game by an hour and said it had explored “possibilities to minimize non-essential power around the stadium.”
More than 5,000 flights were canceled on Friday, with thousands more delayed, and more than 2,900 were canceled on Saturday.
• Many people feel cold: Dangerously cold winds are expected across much of the central and eastern United States this weekend. “Life-threatening low temperatures and dangerously cold winds will be potentially life-threatening to stranded travelers,” the National Weather Service said earlier Saturday.
• Record-breaking temperatures in the South: Atlanta and Tallahassee, Florida, are expected to see their coldest high temperatures on record on Dec. 24, according to the Weather Service.
• Severe cold elsewhere: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are expected to have their coldest Christmas Eve ever on Saturday. Washington, D.C. could have its second coldest night on Christmas Eve, the first being in 1989. New York will experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906. Chicago expects temperatures to climb back above zero, but will still experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906..