Thousands without power as deadly winter storm brings extreme cold through Christmas

Millions of people crouched in the frigid cold all night and early in the morning, trapped inside their homes in snowdrifts, and dozens of others to survive the frigid storms that ravaged much of the United States. We were unable to supply electricity to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

CBS News has confirmed at least 20 weather-related deaths from the storm across the country.

The storm’s range was nearly unprecedented, from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande River along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the U.S. population faced some kind of winter weather advisory or warning, with temperatures well below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, the National Weather Service said.

Thousands of U.S. flights were canceled on Saturday, with another 1,300 canceled as of Sunday morning, according to tracking sites. flight aware.

The forecaster bomb cyclone — when atmospheric pressure dropped rapidly in a strong storm — occurred near the Great Lakes, stirring up blizzard conditions such as high winds and snow.

storm With the hurricane’s high winds and snow creating whiteout conditions that paralyzed emergency response efforts, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said nearly all fire trucks in the city were stranded, closing the airport until Monday. .

Massive winter storm brings snow, temperatures below freezing
Vehicles covered in snow on December 24, 2022 in Hamburg, New York. Buffalo suburbs and surrounding areas were hit by a winter storm with gusts of wind in excess of 70 mph over the holiday weekend.

John Normile/Getty Images

Freezing conditions and a day-long power outage forced Buffalo residents to leave their homes on Saturday and flee to hot places. But with the city streets under a thick blanket of white, it wasn’t an option for people like Jeremy Manahan, who charged his phone in a parked car after nearly 29 hours of power outages.

“We have one warming shelter, but it’s too far to get there. We can’t drive because we’re stuck,” Manahan said. “And you can’t be outside for more than 10 minutes without getting frostbite.”

Buffalo’s home Erie County executive Mark Polonkers said one trip to the hospital took more than three hours, and the snowstorm was “the worst storm in our community’s history.” said it could become

Two people died Friday at their home outside Cheektowaga, N.Y., he said paramedics didn’t arrive in time to treat their condition, and another died in Buffalo.

“We can’t pick everyone up and take them to the warming center. We don’t have the capacity to do that,” Polonkaerts said. “Many areas are still impassable, especially in the city of Buffalo.”

Powerful storm covers much of US


Dijak Ilunga of Gaithersburg, Md., was en route to spending Christmas with his daughters on Friday to visit relatives in Hamilton, Ontario when his SUV got stuck in Buffalo. Instead, they spent hours in the engine of a car that had been blown away by the wind and nearly buried in the snow.

By 4am on Saturday, fuel was almost gone, so Ilunga made the desperate choice to risk a howling storm to reach a nearby shelter. He carried his 6-year-old Destiny on his back, and 16-year-old Cindy cradled a Pomeranian puppy and stepped in his footsteps as they walked through the drifts.

“If I keep driving, I will die here with my children.” He cried as his family walked through the shelter door. “It’s something I’ll never forget in my life.”

The storm caused blackouts in areas from Maine to Seattle, prompting major power grid operators to warn 65 million people in the eastern United States of possible rolling blackouts.

Residents of the New York City metropolitan area were asked to set thermostats lower and reduce other energy usage as the extreme cold increased demand for heating.

Across six New England states, more than 273,000 customers remained without power on Saturday, with Maine the hardest hit. Some utilities have said electricity may not be restored for several days.

In North Carolina, 169,000 customers lost power Saturday afternoon, down from more than 485,000. Utilities officials said rolling blackouts will continue for the next few days.

Storm-related deaths have been reported across the country in recent days. He died four people on the Ohio Turnpike involving about 50 vehicles. He killed four motorists in separate crashes in Missouri and Kansas. Ohio utility worker electrocuted to death. A Vermont woman struck by a fallen branch. An apparently homeless man found in freezing temperatures in Colorado. A woman fell into the ice of the Wisconsin River.

Frozen floods have made conditions even more dire in some areas along the east coast. CBS New York coverage car locked up New Jersey, etc. flooded house Located in the Queens area of ​​Howard Beach. American Red Cross reception centers at local schools provided assistance on Friday and Saturday.

“People just need to go somewhere warm,” said Frank Farrance. “We have about 15 clients and I would say about half of them need housing. Some people need cleaning kits to recover.”

in Mexico, Migrants camping near the US border They were facing unusually cold temperatures as they awaited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on pandemic-era restrictions that would prevent many from seeking asylum.

Along Interstate 71 in Kentucky, Terry Henderson and her husband Rick bought a rig outfitted with a diesel heater, toilet and refrigerator after getting stranded trying to drive from Alabama to their home in Ohio over Christmas. I survived 34 hours of traffic jams.

“We should have stayed,” said Terry Henderson after they moved in again on Saturday.

The Polonkers of Erie County tweeted late Saturday that Buffalo Airport had 34.6 inches of snow, with drift well over 6 feet in some areas. Snowstorm conditions were expected to abate early Sunday, but snow was expected to continue due to the effects of the lake.

Massive winter storm brings snow, temperatures below freezing
Christmas decorations covered in snow on December 24, 2022 in Hamburg, New York. Buffalo suburbs and surrounding areas were hit by winter storms, with gusts of over 110 km/h over the weekend.

John Normile/Getty Images

The Buffalo region last month another record storm Some areas have more than 6 feet of snow.

Vivian Robinson, of Buffalo’s Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry, said she and her husband were among 60 people who spent Saturday night at church, including stranded travelers and locals without electricity or heat. He said he was evacuating 70 people from the city and cooking.

Many arrived with ice and snow smeared on their clothes, crying with red skin in the single-digit temperatures. Saturday night they prepared to spend Christmas together.

“It’s emotional just to see the wounds they thought they couldn’t live with, to see us open a church and give them a sense of relief,” Robinson said. The people there are really enjoying it, and it’s going to be a different Christmas for everyone.”

Forecasters said sub-zero temperatures are expected to persist for a few more days, but then begin to ease, with temperatures becoming milder by the middle of the week. Thousands without power as deadly winter storm brings extreme cold through Christmas

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