A severe winter storm that affected most of the nation caused power outages, blizzard-like conditions, bone-chilling temperatures, and the cancellation of Christmas plans for tens of millions of Americans.
The National Weather Service described the storm as a “historic winter storm” and said that more than 200 million people, or roughly 60% of the US population, were under some kind of winter weather alert or warning on Friday.
Central American states have experienced record-low temperatures, with Montana recording a reading of -50F (-45.6C).
According to the National Weather Service, places like Des Moines, Iowa, will feel like -37F (-38C), making it possible to develop frostbite in less than five minutes.
The day before Christmas Eve, more than 3,100 flights into and out of US airports were cancelled, disrupting travel plans and leaving more than 1.4 million households and businesses without power.
According to the governor of the state, fatalities have already started to be reported, with three deaths so far being confirmed on Kentucky’s highways.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm has now become a bomb cyclone after its atmospheric pressure dropped quickly enough during the last 24 hours to qualify it for that classification.
From border to border, the enormous storm was present. British Columbia, Canada, experienced a low of -62.7F. (-52.6C). Additionally, migrants in Mexico waited for a court judgement on removing asylum limits while enduring extremely frigid conditions close to the US border.
Iguanas are cold-blooded animals that can become immobile in subzero conditions, which can cause them to lose their grasp and fall to the ground. Florida homeowners have been cautioned to watch out for iguanas falling from trees.
Wind chill alerts are in effect for more than 181 million people, while blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people. Temperatures in some places have fallen more than 30 degrees in a couple of minutes, according to forecasters.
An estimated 192 million individuals in 46 states would have experienced wind chills below zero by the time the weather system has passed.
hundreds of stranded drivers
The cold storm that blasted South Dakota with subzero temperatures left more than 100 drivers stranded.
The neighbourhood sheriff’s office advised drivers to wait in their cars and dial 911 as emergency personnel attempted to rescue people who were left stranded.
Robert Oliver, the emergency manager for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said that despite efforts by tribal authorities to clear roads so that propane and firewood can be delivered to houses, the wind has been persistent and has occasionally caused drifts of more than 10 feet. In recent storms, he claimed, including a blizzard from last week, five people had died.
In Minnesota, between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, police were called to close to 50 automobile collisions.
According to the State Patrol, wet roads reportedly contributed to 118 vehicle spinouts and a crash involving a semi-truck.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota reported that several drivers were left stuck on city streets as a result of the winter storm system. Workers spent the entire night removing passengers from their vehicles. People were seen sleeping on homemade beds on the floor of a building in an agency photo.
“This is not like the snow days you had as a child,”
Americans should take the storm seriously, according to Vice President Joe Biden.
After hearing from federal officials, he declared, “This is not like a snow day when you were a kid.”
This is serious business.
High demand for shelters for the homeless
Officials in Portland, Oregon, opened four shelters for the homeless. Steven Venus attempted to board a light-rail train in the city’s central business district after spending the previous night huddling on the sidewalk in subfreezing temperatures.
He stopped in front of a flimsy tent where another homeless guy was finding refuge, saying, “My toes were freezing off.” He was wearing a sleeping bag around his head.
Speaking on behalf of her organisation, the Union Gospel Mission, Courtney Dodds said teams had been going out to attempt to convince people to seek shelter.
Because of the cold, she added, “it may be incredibly simple for folks to nod off and fall asleep and end up dying.”