Power cuts, flight delays as US storm leaves chaos behind

The massive winter storm that has battered large parts of the United States and Canada continues to ground flights and keep vacationers off the roads, and knocked out power to millions just as temperatures fall.

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(Bloomberg) — The massive winter storm that has battered large parts of the United States and Canada is still blocking flights and keeping vacationers off the roads, and has knocked out power to millions just as temperatures fall.

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As of early Saturday, FlightAware showed more than 2,300 delays or cancellations inside, inside or outside the United States. Some of the worst-hit airports were in Boston, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey. Delays may decrease as the storm moves away.

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A feature of the storm was « brutal cold » more than heavy snow, the National Weather Service said.

Arctic blast means ‘cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills’ [that] will create a life-threatening hazard to stranded travellers, outdoor workers, livestock and pets,” the weather service said.

Power outages affected more than 1.4 million homes and businesses, with outages spanning more than 25 states from Maine to Texas.

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PJM, a power grid that stretches from Illinois to New Jersey, issued a rare system-wide emergency on Friday night and is ordering some customers to curtail demand as a broad winter storm surges energy consumption. Duke Energy on Saturday urged customers in the Carolinas to reduce their electricity use over the next 24 hours.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies electricity to several states, previously ordered power outages to cope with overwhelming demand as millions turned on space heaters in the cold.

Eastern US power grid orders cut amid system-wide emergency

Although there is a lot of snow and freezing temperatures, the storm is most notable for its size and speed. Snow, blizzard, freeze and flood warnings and advisories extend to the central and eastern United States, its northern fringe and deep south, as well as Canada. Its rapid march across the continent causes violent variations in temperature. New York City was 55F (13C) at dawn. At 10 p.m. it should be around 10 a.m.

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More than 200 million Americans — about 60% of the country — were in some form of winter weather warning or advisory Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy snowfall is expected to cover the Great Lakes region and parts of northern New York and New England, followed by freezing cold.

The storm intensified as it swept eastward to reach “bomb cyclone” status – when its central pressure plunges rapidly – ​​and is now centered over southwestern Ontario in Canada. Canadians are dealing with their own travel issues and power outages due to bad weather, including canceled flights at the country’s busiest airports. The main storm will reach Quebec City later on Saturday.

The storm created « substantial disruption » at FedEx Express hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis, potentially delaying the arrival of Christmas holiday packages, the shipping company said in a statement.

In New York State, the storm caused coastal flooding of up to 3 feet along Long Island, while ice and high winds closed roads in and around Buffalo as well as the airport in the city. Governor Kathy Hochul urged residents across the state to ride out the storm at home and stay off the roads.

“I call it a kitchen sink storm because it throws everything at us,” she said at a press conference on Friday. « This is a dangerous and life-threatening event. Protect yourselves, protect your families – do not travel.

—With assistance from Gabriela Mello and Naureen S. Malik.



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