More than 1.4 million homes and businesses across the country have lost power due to high winds and plummeting temperatures
A huge winter cyclone presented as a “once in a generation” Weather forecasters’ winter storm has knocked out power service to millions of Americans and forced the cancellation of nearly 14,000 US flights during the hectic holiday travel season.
Winter storm Elliott hit more than half of the United States this week, leaving more than 1.4 million homes and businesses without power as of midday Friday, according to PowerOutage.US. The storm ground about 7,800 flights on Friday after forcing 6,000 cancellations on Thursday. Airlines have already canceled 2,400 flights for Saturday and Sunday, and more than 48,000 flights have been delayed since Thursday, according to FlightAware tracking data.
The storm caused severe drops in temperature as a massive cold front swept across the United States and encountered warmer air to the east. Heavy rains fell in some areas ahead of the front, bringing a flash freeze that brought down power lines and made roads dangerous. High winds and heavy snow brought blizzard conditions to the Northern Plains and Great Lakes regions.
Temperature variations were dramatic on opposite sides of the front. For example, it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) in Boston around 2 p.m. Friday, compared to minus 1 degree in Pittsburgh.
Temperatures dipped to minus 24 in Denver, a 30-year low, and wind chill slipped to minus 50 in parts of Montana. Freezing temperatures have reached the southern tip of Texas, and areas such as western New York are expected to receive up to three feet of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
FedEx and UPS have warned that Christmas packages could arrive late due to the storm.
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