America’s coldest Christmas Eve ever

Much of America is on track for its coldest Christmas Eve on record today. 

An arctic blast that has gripped much of the United States this week, disrupting daily life and holiday travel for millions of Americans, was expected to produce the coldest Christmas Eve on record in several cities from Pennsylvania to Florida.

Temperatures are forecast to top out on Friday at just 8 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 Celsius) in Pittsburgh, the largest city in western Pennsylvania, surpassing its previous all-time coldest Christmas Eve high of 13 F, set in 1983, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

The capital cities of Florida and Georgia – Tallahassee and Atlanta – were likewise expected to record their coldest daytime Christmas Eve high temperatures, while Washington, D.C., was forecast to experience its chilliest Dec. 24 since 1906.

The flurry of yuletide temperature records were predicted as a U.S. deep freeze sharpened by perilous wind chills continued to envelope much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation into the holiday weekend.

The arctic cold combined with a “cyclone bomb” of heavy snow and howling winds roaring out of the Great Lakes region on Friday and into the Upper Mississippi and Ohio valleys to wreak havoc on power systems, roadways and commercial air traffic. 

The storm that arrived earlier in the week is nearly unprecedented in scope, stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the Mexican border.

It has downed scores of power lines, leaving around 1.5 million Americans without electricity, with North Carolina alone seeing more than 400,000 outages, and highways are littered with piles of wrecked cars after whiteout conditions caused deadly accidents. And at least 19 people have lost their lives as a result of the brutal weather, latest figures show.

More than 10,000 flights worldwide were canceled or delayed Friday, with around 5,000 of those occurring in the US, according to tracking site FlightAware. Travelers have been forced to sleep on airport floors overnight, with many now unable to get home for the holidays. 

Many families may also be waking up on Christmas morning to find there are no presents after FedEx issued a warning on its website that said guaranteed delivery dates previously promised may not be met due to ‘substantial’ weather disruptions, particularly at hubs in Indianapolis and Memphis.

The statement read: ‘We recognize the importance of deliveries this holiday weekend and are committed to providing service to the best of our ability by implementing contingency measures where it is safe and possible to do so’.

Around 60 percent of the U.S. population face some sort of winter weather advisory or warning after temperatures plummeted drastically below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, the National Weather Service said. 

Freezing rain coated much of the Pacific Northwest in a layer of ice, while people in the Northeast faced the threat of coastal and inland flooding. 

In response to the inclement weather, President Joe Biden said: ‘This is a really serious weather alert. Please take this storm extremely seriously.’ 

The frigid temperatures and gusty winds were expected to produce ‘dangerously cold wind chills across much of the central and eastern U.S. this holiday weekend,’ the weather service said, adding that the conditions ‘will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded.’ 

Multiple highways were closed and crashes claimed at least six lives, officials said. Four people died in a massive pileup involving some 50 vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike. 

The crashes happened Friday afternoon along Interstate 80 eastbound between Route 53 and State Route 4 in Sandusky County, near Groton Township and the Erie County line. 

Calling it a ‘kitchen sink storm,’ New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency. In parts of New York City, tidal flooding inundated roads, homes and businesses Friday morning. 

In Erie County, in Western New York, a driving ban was put in place, as New York State traffic cameras show the lack of visibility in the area. In Buffalo, city officials canceled the Buffalo Sabres home game with the Tampa Bay Lightening. 

During a CNN broadcast, a bizarre moment occurred when reporter Polo Sandoval was barely visible on camera due to the whiteout conditions in Buffalo.   

New York City saw high winds, and flooding in some areas. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens were experiencing blackouts.

Power operator PJM has ordered residents in 13 states to conserve electricity. The states in question are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

In a bleak interview with CNN, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said: ‘Remember your loved ones care more about having you alive and that next Christmas than whether you can make this one. People need to stay off the roads. … Being together is more important than ever, but staying safe is even more important than that.

A Kansas City, Missouri, a driver was killed Thursday after skidding into a creek, and three others died Wednesday in separate crashes on icy northern Kansas roads. 

While in McAlester, Oklahoma, a woman’s water froze as soon as it left the tap. 

In Canada, WestJet canceled all flights Friday at Toronto Pearson International Airport, as meteorologists there warned of a potential once-in-a-decade weather event.

While in Mexico, migrants camped near the US border in unusually cold temperatures as they awaited a U.S. Supreme Court decision on pandemic-era restrictions that prevent many from seeking asylum.

Forecasters said a bomb cyclone — when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm — had developed near the Great Lakes, stirring up blizzard conditions, including heavy winds and snow.

Even people in Florida were braced for unusually chilly weather as rare freeze warnings were issued for large parts of the state over the holiday weekend. 

Volunteers were rushing to get homeless people out of the cold. Nearly 170 adults and children were keeping warm early Friday in Detroit at a shelter designed to hold 100 people.


In Dallas, volunteers distributed blankets to 1,000 people in the city’s homeless community.  

‘This is a lot of extra people’ but it wasn’t an option to turn anyone away, said Faith Fowler, the executive director of Cass Community Social Services, which runs both facilities. 

Emergency weather shelters in Portland, Oregon, called for volunteers amid high demand and staffing issues as snow, freezing rain, ice and frigid temperatures descended upon the area.


Daily Mail

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