Sunday saw millions of Americans hunkering down against the bitter cold to weather the winter frigid storm that has claimed the lives of at least 34 individuals throughout the United States.
A.P. — BUFFALO, N.Y. After stranding some residents inside their homes with heaping snow drifts and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, millions of people hunkered down against a deep freeze on Sunday to ride out the winter frigid storm that has killed at least 34 people across the United States and is expected to claim more lives.
The storm’s reach has been practically unmatched, extending from the Great Lakes in northern Canada to the Rio Grande in southern Texas. The National Weather Service said that temperatures dropped sharply below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, affecting around 60% of the country.
After a bomb cyclone, which occurs when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly during a powerful frigid storm, formed near the Great Lakes, blizzard conditions, including intense winds and snow, were triggered. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and more are expected. As of Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT, tracking site FlightAware reported that 1,707 flights had been cancelled both nationally and internationally.
Hurricane-force winds and snow caused whiteout conditions, effectively halting rescue efforts in Buffalo. New York Governor Kathy Hochul stated on Sunday that nearly all of the city’s fire trucks had become trapped the previous day, and she urged residents to adhere to the driving ban that remains in effect. An official claimed that the airport would be closed until Tuesday AM. As of 7 a.m. Sunday, the snowfall at Buffalo Niagara International Airport had accumulated to 43 inches (109 centimetres), according to the National Weather Service.
As daylight broke, thousands of homes, many of which were decorated with unlit holiday displays due to a lack of power, were seen to be practically buried under 6 feet of snow. Until early Monday morning, further 1–2 feet of snow were predicted in some regions, forecasters warned, with winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour whipping snow down undisturbed and impassable streets. The police reported two “isolated” incidents of looting on Sunday night.
On Friday, two persons in suburban Cheektowaga, New York, passed away because medical help did not arrive in time. Mark Poloncarz, the county executive, said that ten more individuals have perished in Erie County because of the storm, six of them in Buffalo, and that this number could rise.
Some were discovered in vehicles, others in snowbanks on the sidewalk “said Poloncarz. The number of people who have been stranded in their vehicles for more than two days is known.
Buffalonians were scurrying to find anyplace warm as the city endured what Mayor Hochul called the longest prolonged blizzard conditions ever recorded. For people like Jeremy Manahan, who went over 29 hours without power and ended up charging his phone in his parked car, this wasn’t an option, as the snow covered the streets.
There is only one warming centre, but it’s too far for me to walk there right now. I’m definitely unable to drive at this time,” Manahan explained. You can acquire frostbite from being outside for more than 10 minutes.
On Friday, Ditjak Ilunga and his kids were driving from Gaithersburg, Maryland to Hamilton, Ontario to spend Christmas with relatives when their SUV got stuck in Buffalo traffic. They were stranded for hours with the engine running while the wind and snow nearly buried them.
Saturday morning at four, with their fuel almost gone, Ilunga took the desperate decision to try to go to a nearby shelter despite the raging storm. Destiny, age 6, rode on his back as Cindy, age 16, grabbed their Pomeranian puppy and followed in her father’s footprints through the snow.
“If I stay in this car, I’m going to die here with my kids,” Ilunga remembered thinking. When the family finally entered the refuge, he broke down in tears. In all likelihood, I will never forget that experience.”
The storm caused widespread power outages, all the way from Maine to Seattle. But power and heat were gradually being restored across the United States. At 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, poweroutage.us reported that fewer than 200,000 people were still without electricity, down from a peak of 1.7 million.
As of Sunday, PJM Interconnection reported that its utilities will be able to meet the day’s peak electrical demand, calming fears that rolling blackouts would affect the whole eastern United States. On Saturday, when temperatures dropped, the mid-Atlantic grid operator urged its 65 million customers to reduce their energy consumption.