US winter storm: Savage US blizzard kills 32, power outages and travel grunts | world news

NEW YORK: A brutal winter storm that has brought Christmas chaos to millions of Americans will be slow to dissipate, the U.S. National Weather Service said Monday, after heavy snow and freezing cold caused power outages, delays in trip and at least 32 deaths in the east of the country.
“Much of the eastern United States will remain in a deep freeze through Monday before a moderating trend sets in on Tuesday,” the NWS said in its latest advisory.
In Buffalo, western New York, a blizzard left the city in lockdown, with emergency services unable to reach the worst-hit areas.
“It’s (like) going to a war zone, and the vehicles along the roads are shocking,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo, where snow piles up to eight feet ( 2.4 meters) and power outages. designed for life-threatening conditions.
Hochul told reporters Sunday evening that residents were still in the grip of a “very dangerous life-threatening situation” and warned anyone in the area to stay indoors.
More than 200,000 people in several eastern states woke up without power on Christmas morning and many more saw their holiday travel plans upended, although the five-day storm characterized by blizzard conditions and fierce winds showed signs of easing.
Extreme weather conditions sent wind chill temperatures in the contiguous 48 U.S. states below freezing over the weekend, stranded vacationers with thousands of canceled flights and trapped residents in ice-encrusted homes and snow.
Thirty-two weather-related deaths have been confirmed in nine states, including at least 13 in Erie County where Buffalo is located, with officials warning the number is sure to rise.
Officials described historically dangerous conditions in the snow-prone Buffalo area, with hours-long whiteouts and bodies discovered in vehicles and under snow banks as rescuers struggled to search for those in need. to be rescued.
The city’s international airport remains closed through Tuesday and a driving ban remained in effect for all of Erie County.
“We now have what will be talked about not just today but for generations (like) the blizzard of 22,” Hochul said, adding that the brutality had surpassed the region’s previous historic snowstorm of 1977 in “l intensity, longevity, ferocity of the winds.”
Due to frozen electrical substations, some residents aren’t expected to get power back until Tuesday, with one substation apparently buried in 18 feet of snow, a senior county official said.
The NWS earlier warned that blizzard conditions in the Great Lakes region of western New York continued through Sunday, with “an additional 2-3 feet of snowfall accumulations (Sunday evening)” .
A couple from Buffalo, across the border from Canada, told AFP on Saturday that with the roads completely impassable they would not drive 10 minutes to see family for Christmas.
“It’s difficult because the conditions are so bad…a lot of firefighters don’t even send trucks for calls,” a 40-year-old said. Rebecca Bortolin.
The storm forced the cancellation of nearly 3,000 US flights on Sunday, in addition to some 3,500 canceled on Saturday and nearly 6,000 on Friday, according to tracking site Flightaware.com.
More than 1,000 US flights had already been canceled just hours after Monday, the website reported.
Travelers remained stranded or delayed at airports throughout Christmas Day, including major hubs in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York.
Ice on the roads and whiteout conditions also caused the temporary closure of some of the nation’s busiest transportation routes, including Interstate 70.
Drivers have been warned not to hit the roads – even as the country hits what is usually its busiest time of year for travel.
Extreme weather has taken a severe toll on power grids, with several power providers urging millions of people to cut consumption to minimize power outages in places like North Carolina and Tennessee.
At one point on Saturday, nearly 1.7 million customers were without power in the bitter cold, according to tracker poweroutage.us.
The figure dropped significantly on Sunday evening, although more than 50,000 customers in eastern states still lacked power.
Fierce winter conditions also wreak havoc in Canada.
A weekend bus overturn in British Columbia believed to be caused by icy roads left four dead and sent 53 people to hospital, with two still in critical condition early Sunday.
Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in Ontario and Quebec, many flights were canceled in major cities, and passenger rail service between Toronto and Ottawa was suspended.

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