Midwest colder than MARS as nearly 1.5M homes in US without power

Midwest colder than MARS as nearly 1.5M homes in US without power

12/23/2022

Snow this is Christmas? Total homes without power rises to 1.5MILLION as hurricane force winds and blizzards batter US: Bomb cyclone turns roads into death traps, Midwest is colder than MARS and worst is still to come

  • Plunging temperatures and a treacherous winter weather system are wreaking havoc across the United States
  • Nearly one-and-a-half million homes are without power, with mass outages in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana
  • Total flight delays and cancelations in the United States on Friday morning alone totaled more than 3,000 
  • Flight delays have encouraged travelers desperate to be with family to brave hazardous icy and snowy roads
  • Subfreezing weather will be seen in parts of the U.S. with areas already seeing colder temperatures than Mars
  • Latest forecast from Accuweather warns storm is ‘gaining strength rapidly’ and worst weather is yet to come

A ‘once-in-a-generation’ storm across most of the United States was intensifying on Friday as blizzard conditions and hurricane-strength winds grounded thousands of flights and left nearly one-and-a-half million homes without power.

The brutal ‘bomb cyclone’ is ‘gaining strength rapidly’ and threatens temperatures colder than Mars in some Midwest states. 

The deadly Arctic storm just days before Christmas has threatened the holiday plans of millions of Americans and triggered alerts across the country.

Nearly two thirds of the United States is under a winter weather alert, with snow causing thousands of flight cancelations ahead of the busiest weekend of the year. The latest figures from FlightAware said 3,100 flights were canceled for Friday alone, following the grounding of thousands more on Thursday.

More than 10,000 flights were also delayed by the weather and the knock-on effect is likely to mean the chaos continues once the storm has passed.  Seattle-Tacome Airport closed its runways indefinitely on Friday morning to de-ice the surfaces.

Americans are also warned against traveling by road, as the icy conditions and powerful winds turn highways and freeways into potential deathtraps. 

OHIO: A skid-steer loader plows snow in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio as a major winter storm brings subzero temperatures across the United States

NASHVILLE: Antonio Smothers jumps his vehicle on December 23,2022 after winter storm Elliot moved through the Middle Tennessee region leaving behind freezing rain, snow and below freezing temperatures

CHICAGO: A jogger runs along the snow-covered shoreline of Lake Michigan at sunrise ahead of the Christmas Holiday, on December 23, 2022, in Chicago.

MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA: Rows of headstones at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery are blanketed by drifting snow

PARADISE VALLEY, MONTANA: Mist rises about ice flows on the Yellowstone River as it froze over in the record weather

CHICAGO: Mist rises from Chicago and Lake Michigan at sunrise on December 23, 2022, where temperatures reached -6F (-21C), ahead of the Christmas Holiday 

Some 200 million Americans – about 60 per cent of the population – are under some form of winter weather advisory as subfreezing chills and power outages are set to disappoint those scrambling to be with loved ones over Christmas.

Hard-freeze warnings were posted across the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, while significant icing was possible from a separate arctic blast hitting the Pacific Northwest. 

The horrendous conditions have also caused inevitable delays to last-minute parcel deliveries. FedEx said it experienced ‘substantial disruptions’ at hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis. UPS said deliveries and pickups at hubs in Louisville, Kentucky and Rockford, Illinois, were impacted.

By late Thursday, most of the Lower 48 states, from Washington state to Florida, were under wind-chill alerts, blizzard warnings or other winter weather advisories. 

Strong winds across the country saw powerlines down with the highest number of outages seen in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.

POWER OUTAGES BY REGION AS OF MIDDAY FRIDAY

  • New England 356,365
  • Mid-Atlantic 334,686
  • South East 326,963
  • South 264,772
  • Great Lakes 85,018
  • Pacific 34,558
  • MidWest 13,573
  • Territories 7,929
  • Mountain 663 

Subfreezing temperatures will arrive just in time for the weekend across the Ohio River Valley and Northeast. At least five people were killed in Oklahoma as the roads turned icy.

Many residents in the Ohio River Valley woke to freezing temperatures on Friday morning and by 10 am, the temperatures in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be 8 degrees, according to Accuweather.

In New York City, the cold weather will arrive by lunchtime on Friday and as the sun sets, subfreezing temperatures will be spreading across New England. 

From Ohio to Maine, Friday night is expected to be frigid with winds gusting over 70 mph in some locations.

Accuweather’s Friday morning forecast said: ‘A powerful storm gaining strength rapidly will create a vast zone of high winds from the North Central states to the Northeast today.

‘Winds can frequent 50-70 mph with a few gusts to hurricane force. At this level, lengthy power outages are likely.

‘Frigid air accompanying the storm will lead to blizzard conditions over the Upper Midwest and a flash freeze following heavy rain and flooding in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions.’

More than 3,000 flights are delayed and canceled as of Friday morning (2 am) with people desperate to get home for the holidays choosing to brave the brutal winter conditions and drive home for Christmas.

Ten American owned airlines have seen cancelations with figures from late on Thursday night revealing Southwest Airlines (602), American Airlines (136) and Alaska Airlines (128) had the highest – and those numbers are likely to grow today.

Long-standing temperature records this holiday weekend could be shattered if temperatures dip below predicted lows which are teetering dangerously close to figures not seen for close to 40 years.

Plunging temperatures and a treacherous winter weather system is wreaking havoc across the United States with flight cancelations, power outages and subfreezing chills


People have taken to social media to do the ‘boiling water challenge,’ which turns boiling hot water into ‘snow’ or steam in freezing temperatures, with the spectacular videos illustrating the chill

A woman crosses the street as she braves the freezing weather ahead of the Christmas Holiday, in Chicago

A woman is seen looking outside of a tent in downtown Denver during a period of cold weather 

Travelers wait for their transportation at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago

Ten American owned airlines have seen cancelations with Southwest Airlines (602), American Airlines (136) and Alaska Airlines (128) seeing the highest with those numbers likely to grow

More than 3,000 flights are delayed and canceled as of Friday morning (2 am) with people desperate to get home for the holidays choosing to brave the brutal winter conditions and drive home for Christmas

Passengers search for luggage following flight cancellations and delays caused by a winter storm at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Temperatures on Thursday saw parts of the Midwest dropping below those on Mars, according to NASA’s Perseverance rover that had been driving around Jezero Crater

Drivers navigate a snow-covered street as temperatures hang in the single-digits in Chicago, Illinois

A commuter waits for an L train as snow falls in Chicago. The coldest Christmas on record for the nation occurred in 1983 when a ten day Arctic invasion from Dec 16, 1983, to the day after Christmas – this could have the potential to top that

Students leave Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School at West 47th Street and Hoyne Avenue in Chicago

The coldest Christmas on record for the nation occurred in 1983 when a ten day Arctic invasion from December 16, 1983, to the day after Christmas brought the lowest temperatures of the month to the entire U.S.

‘The average temperature across the U.S. was around 20 degrees, and, to this day, most low temperature records from Dec. 25, 1983, still stand in much of the eastern half of the nation,’ AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor Jesse Ferrell said. 

On Christmas, nearly 78 percent of the U.S. recorded temperatures below 32 degrees with at least 30 percent recorded temperatures below 10 degrees. 

The coldest air was centered around the Midwest and along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.

In Chicago, the temperature dropped to 5 below zero on Christmas Day in 1983, setting a new record for the lowest temperature recorded on that day in the Windy City. 

Compared to normal, temperatures were 39 degrees below average on that day nearly 40 years ago. 

People have taken to social media to do the ‘boiling water challenge,’ which turns boiling hot water into ‘snow’ or steam in freezing temperatures, with the spectacular videos illustrating the chill. 

A musician departs following a show on Broadway, a popular tourist street in Nashville, Tennessee

The snowy conditions are already present in Nashville. While a number of power outages have also occurred in the region

Visitors take a video as snow falls on Broadway Tennessee enjoying the cold temperatures 

A person shops for goods at a Publix in Nashville, Tennessee, ahead of winter storm Elliot

Shoppers wait in line at a Publix in Nashville, Tennessee, as they brace the for chilly conditions which may keep them housebound

A tree fell on top of a home in Portland because of strong winds ahead of a winter storm

A resident of the home sustained minor injuries after the tree fell on the home leaving the roof caved in 

Pictures of the enormous tree show that it created major damage to the Portland property where it fell

How to stay warm and what to do if the power goes out: 

How to stay warm during a winter storm: 

1. Keep all doors to the outside closed, and use towels to block drafts from windows and door cracks 

2. Insulate windows with black blankets or place blanket on the floor where the sun is directly shining 

3. Run a bathtub of hot water Turn faucets to a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing 

3. Don’t rely on gas stoves, charcoal grills or other open-flame heat sources as carbon monoxide gas may build up in your home – be aware of fuel fumes while trying to make a hot meal

6. Place any generators outside, away from doors, windows and vents 

7. Limit non-emergency phone call

As the storm set in on Thursday, at least five people were killed in separate crashes as the ‘once-in-a-generation’ winter system swept across central and eastern parts of the U.S. 

Meanwhile, six governors have so far called for a state of emergency this week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul being the latest to do so. 

She declared the state of emergency and also issued a traffic ban on part of Interstate 90 beginning on Friday at 6 am due to the incoming storm’s expected brutality.

Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia and North Carolina have all issued the emergency orders that, in part, activate their emergency response and operations plans.

United States President Joe Biden said on Thursday, that the incoming weather system ‘is not like any other snow day when you were a kid.’

‘This is not like a snow day when you were a kid. This is serious stuff, I encourage everyone, everyone, please heed the local warnings. Take this storm extremely seriously,’ Biden said.

Biden added that he has been in touch with 26 governors, some of whom had already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

The five fatalities, caused by separate motor vehicle accidents, were recorded in Oklahoma as the storm started to coat roads with snow and ice, authorities said. 

A woman crosses the street as she braves the freezing weather ahead of the Christmas Holiday, in Chicago


A person wrapped in a blanket walks on a sidewalk as snow begins to fall Thursday in St Louis in Missouri. Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia and North Carolina have all issued state of emergency orders

At least five people have been killed, as a treacherous ‘once-in-a-generation’ winter system pummels central and eastern parts of the United States, with at least six governors calling for a state of emergency 

Commuters navigate a snow-covered Kennedy Expressway during a lighter-than-usual evening rush hour as temperatures hang in the single-digits

A pedestrian navigates a snow-covered sidewalk as temperatures a winter weather system bringing snow, high winds, and sub-zero temperatures wreaks havoc on a large section of the county

Lieutenant Candice Breshears, of the Kansas Highway Patrol, said in a press conference on Thursday that three people were killed in multiple crashes overnight. 

In one of the collisions, authorities said, a vehicle driven by 16-year-old Sawyer Lysell-Alkire was traveling south on Interstate 135 in Saline County shortly after 9 pm when it veered off the highway and overturned into a ditch. 

A passenger in the vehicle, Grant L. Lysell-Alkire, 21, of Lindsborg, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The driver suffered minor injuries. 

Their mother posted a heartbreaking tribute hours after the crash asking for prayers for her family.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said it responded to two fatal crashes Thursday in the state, one on the Turner Turnpike near Luther and a three-vehicle crash that occurred in Paden in central Oklahoma.

But with flight delays and cancelations some people have chosen to brave the winter weather.

Alice Adkins Aldredge was in Chicago for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic along with her husband, Tripp, and son, Greyson.

Their flight out of Midway was canceled Thursday morning due to the weather.

Alice told CNN they have family visiting for the holidays, so it was important they got back to their home in Charleston, South Carolina.

‘We decided to risk it on the road,’ she said.

A homeless man receives bottles of propane to use with his portable heater as cold and snowy weather moves into Chicago

A homeless man, warms his hands with a heat lamp at the entrance of an L station as temperatures drop in Chicago

Pedestrians navigate a snow-covered sidewalk – strong winds are expected to combine with sub-zero temperatures on Friday

They booked a rental car and began driving around 10.30 am. The plan is to drive 12 hours to Charlotte, North Carolina to drop off their friend, who caught a ride with them. 

They will then drive another three hours to Charleston for a total of 15 hours on the road.

‘Everything has been great so far,’ Alice said, ‘We’ve gotten to see some sights along the way and we get to spend time together.’

Tripp told CNN that many other friends of theirs from the clinic chose to similarly take to the road, as there were no available flights out of Chicago.

Madison Painter and her fiancé, Tyler Logan, were among those in Chicago for the clinic. 

Painter told CNN their flight to Atlanta was canceled Thursday morning and rescheduled for 9pm on Christmas Day.

The couple decided, along with their friends, Calvin Scott and Brenda Simechak, to drive back to Atlanta, get their cars from the airport, and then drive another three hours to their home in Troy, Alabama.

‘I was super worried we wouldn’t get a rental car,’ Painter said, ‘I wanted to get home to our families.’

Bus riders wait at a sheltered stop in Chicago’s famed Loop as snow falls and a public service message reminds riders of the winter storm in Chicago

A man stands outside of his tent during a period of cold weather in Denver, Colorado

People stay warm with a fire during a period of cold weather in downtown, Denver, Colorado

Snow covers much of Central Park after Winter Storm Elliott passes through Omaha, Nebraska

A city maintenance vehicle pauses outside the CHI Health Center after Winter Storm Elliott passed through Omaha, Nebraska

Luckily, they did manage to get a rental car and started their drive around 11 am.

‘It’s been crazy with the wind and snow blowing across the road,’ Painter said.

To pass the time, Painter said she’s been watching the snow come down and texting with friends and family who are checking in. They’re hoping to make it back to Troy around 3am.

Wyoming, already begun experiencing complete white-out conditions and extreme straight-line winds by Wednesday.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol posted videos showing the conditions in Cheyenne, as it encouraged residents to ‘please stay home.’ 

The trooper’s car can be seen rattling as snow is whipping across the hood of his car in a tornado-like effect. The only thing visible in the commotion is the car’s headlights. 

‘Current view from a Trooper’s car in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Current conditions outside of Cheyenne are -18 with zero visibility,’ the Wyoming Highway Patrol wrote in a Facebook post.

A local resident shovels snow off the end of a driveway, Thursday, in Urbandale, Iowa

The Twin Cities saw 8 inches of snow Wednesday followed by wind gusts up to 50mph and windchills reaching -35 degrees F on Thursday

A truck is filled with road salt as snow begins to fall in Milwaukee on Thursday

A person can be seen battling snow conditions in St Louis as frigid conditions are set to through central United States to the east

Semitrucks line up in the eastbound land on I-70, which was closed due to extreme winter driving conditons, in Silverthorne, Colorado

How governors across the U.S. are responding to the ‘once-in-a-generation’ storm

As severe winter weather pummels parts of the U.S., this is how some governors are responding to the storm:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis activated over 100 National Guard members to support ‘extreme cold weather operations’ across the state.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that the state will activate its severe cold weather protocol in response to potentially below-zero wind chills over the holiday weekend. The protocol will begin Friday evening and remain in effect till midday next Monday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency due to ‘historic low temperatures,’ forecast this week, the governor said on Wednesday.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also declared a state of emergency Wednesday before extremely cold temperatures reached the commonwealth.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that the state has activated emergency response operations ahead of the winter storm.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order Tuesday to activate the state’s Emergency Operations Plan to prepare for the extreme cold. 

The declaration will ‘ensure state resources are available and National Guard members are on standby for any needed response efforts across the state,’ he said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a state of emergency Tuesday to activate the state’s emergency operations plan before icy conditions hit the western part of the state. 

The move will also ‘waive transportation regulations to help the transport of fuel and critical supplies, help first responders and protect consumers from price gouging.’

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency beginning at 6 am Friday due to the expected brutality of the incoming storm.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency Wednesday for all 77 counties ahead of the approaching storm. 

The state of emergency temporarily suspends certain requirements for oversized vehicles that would be involved in power restoration or delivering emergency relief supplies.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to ready resources in case of severe storms, flash flooding or other extreme weather.

The department has already begun to treat roadways across west and northwest Texas.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of preparedness for all 55 counties in his state, directing state agencies to prepare personnel and resources to respond quickly in the case of an emergency.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order declaring an energy emergency in the state due to weather.

In the event of power outages, the order would allow for the swift delivery of fuel products and streamlined restoration efforts.

Source: CNN 

In another video, an emergency vehicle can be seen with its lights on as snow is whipped across the roadways. The pavement is barely visible. 

‘Nope, the Trooper didn’t make a wrong turn and end up in Antarctica,’ it joked.

It also revealed that Troopers had responded to more than 780 calls for service, including nearly 200 motorists who needed assistance and more than 100 car collisions. 

Winter Storm Elliot intensified to be classified as a ‘bomb cyclone,’ which can bring blizzard-like conditions through the Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes area. 

The East and South can also expect a possible flash freeze due to high winds, according to the Weather Channel.  

Blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and the Great Lakes – with Buffalo, Des Moines, and Grand Rapids having the highest chances of experiencing these conditions. 

Winter storm warnings and weather advisories were in effect for the Northern Plains to the mid-South, with Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville, and Memphis being located in concerning areas. 

Vehicles line up on Highway 9 in Silverthorne, Colorado due to the closure of the eastbound lane of I-70 because of extreme winter driving conditions

A young man waiting for a Chicago Transit Authority train in Chicago’s famed Loop stands in a warming station as others walk on the sidewalk Thursday


Pedestrians waiting for a Chicago Transit Authority train in Chicago’s famed Loop stand in a warming station as they brave the cold weather

An Air Canada plane is seen covered in snow at the Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia a few days before the storm is suppose to sweep through Canada as well 

The Capitol Building in Iowa is barely visible as heavy snow falls on Wednesday evening 

This could be the coldest Christmas weekend in decades as many US states are falling in the 15 degree range, with the Great Plains getting as cold as -30F 

The Weather Channel advised residents in those areas avoid travel at all cost as it could be ‘difficult or impossible.’

Northeastern Illinois is under a winter storm warning until 6am Saturday, with the expectation the area will get three to six inches of snow, but could reach up to one inch per hour. 

With wind gusts up to 50mph and wind chills as low as 25 to 35 below zero tonight through Friday night, Chicago and the surrounding areas can expect whiteout conditions and roads will become icy overnight.

On Friday, the storm will reach its peak in the Great Lakes from Northern Wisconsin to Western New York. 

The Northeast can expect a bitter cold after the rain passes through and turns to ice. Georgia and the Carolinas are expected to have high winds throughout Friday. 

By the end of the Friday, Erie, Pennsylvania, could get up to 18 inches of snow, while Buffalo can expect 12 inches. Cleveland is expected to get up to five inches of snow, while Boston and DC are getting one to five inches of rain.  

By Saturday, the storm will move north, but strong winds are still expected to last.

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