MISSION, Kansas (HPD) — A severe winter storm battered the United States Saturday with blinding blizzards, freezing rain, flooding and dangerous cold that threw Christmas travelers into chaos.
The bad weather that occurred since the beginning of the week knocked down power lines, caused road accidents that left deaths and piles of vehicles on the roads, and caused the cancellation of numerous flights.
With its almost unprecedented extent, the storm stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande (known in Mexico as the Rio Grande) on the border with this country.
About 60% of the US population was facing a winter weather advisory or alert, with temperatures dipping below normal from the Rocky Mountains east to the Appalachians, the National Weather Service said.
Freezing rain blanketed much of the Pacific-facing Northwest in ice, as people in the Northeast faced the threat of flooding in coastal and inland areas.
Frigid temperatures and gusty winds will cause “dangerous freezing wind chills across much of the central and eastern United States over the holidays this weekend,” the weather forecaster said.
The conditions “will create hazards that could threaten the lives of travelers should they become stranded,” it added.
“In some areas, being out in the open could cause parts of the body to freeze in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Adding to the hardship were power outages late Friday that continued to affect more than a million homes and businesses, according to the PowerOutage website, which tracks reports of power problems.
Just as millions of Americans were traveling before Christmas, more than 5,700 domestic flights, inbound or outbound, were canceled across the country on Friday, according to FlightAware.
Numerous roads were closed and at least six people were killed in various car accidents, authorities said.
Four people died in a multiple collision involving about 50 vehicles on the stretch known as the Turnpike in Ohio.