A violent storm caused chaos in large parts of the USA on the Christmas weekend. Extreme cold, heavy snowfall and freezing winds caused power outages in more than 1.2 million US homes, according to the website PowerOutage. Ice and snow messed up the plans of many travelers: According to the flight data website FlightAware, more than 5,000 flights were canceled on Friday, and almost 9,000 were delayed. According to media reports, at least 13 people died in traffic accidents. Traffic came to a complete standstill on many roads.
More than 200 million people had received severe weather warnings on the day before Christmas. Initially, the north and central west of the country were particularly affected. But there were also warnings of extreme frost in states in the south of the country. On Saturday night, the storm should move more to the eastern part of the United States. The US weather service warned that "dangerous cold" is expected in the eastern two-thirds of the country over the holiday weekend. Some states, including New York, have declared a state of emergency.
"I'm asking everyone not to hit the streets tonight as conditions will worsen as temperatures continue to drop across the state. Wrap up warm, stay indoors and take care of yourself this weekend," exclaimed the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, the residents.
Minus 45 degrees Celsius in some states
US media, citing weather experts, warned of the possible emergence of a special and severe storm, a so-called "bomb cyclone". Values of around minus 45 degrees Celsius have already been measured in the states of Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. According to meteorologists, temperatures in Denver, Colorado, fell by around 40 degrees within 24 hours as the Arctic cold front passed through. "This is not like a childhood snow day," President Joe Biden warned.
There were also chaotic scenes at the airports. Especially passengers in the north, around the great lakes, had to cancel trips. The airports in Chicago and Detroit are among the most important hubs in the country. Video released by the Weather Channel's website showed an armada of snow plows attempting to clear the tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.