(CNN) — Dangerously cold winds continued across much of the United States on Christmas morning after a nearly week-long winter storm dropped temperatures to life-threatening levels, brought blizzards and coastal flooding, and left hundreds of thousands dead. Homes and businesses lost power.
Blizzard conditions persisted in the Great Lakes on Sunday, as the eastern two-thirds of the country experienced severe cold snaps, with some large cities in the Southeast, Midwest and East Coast recording their coldest Christmas in decades.
More than 55 million people are under cold wind warnings this Sunday morning, and frost warnings in the south of the country.
Temperatures are expected to rise towards the end of the week, a welcome upward trend and above normal temperatures.
Many Floridians will experience their coldest Christmas yet: It will be the coldest December 25 since 1983 in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
New York City posted record coldest temperatures on Christmas Eve, including JFK and LaGuardia airports. The maximum temperature in Central Park was −9 °C, making December 24 the second coldest day in at least 150 years. National Meteorological Service,
At least 22 deaths have been attributed to inclement weather conditions since Wednesday, with some residents in the northeast spending the holidays without adequate heat and hot water as a bitter cold wave persisted.
According to PowerOutage.us, about 175,000 US homes and businesses were without power as of 8:30 a.m., many of them in Maine and New York. Since the start of the storm, the number of outages has exceeded one million customers at various times.
A power grid operator in at least 13 states in the eastern part of the country asked customers to save energy and set thermostats lower than usual from Saturday morning to 10 a.m. Sunday because its use was straining capacity.
The operator, PJM Interconnection, serves approximately 65 million people in all or part of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Is. , and warned that blackouts could occur if the load was excessive.
In New York, utilities Con Edison and Natural Grid US also urged customers to save power, citing inclement weather conditions and increased power demand on interstate pipelines carrying natural gas into the city.
Meanwhile, power shortages in Texas prompted the US Department of Energy to declare a state of emergency on Friday, allowing the state’s power provider to exceed environmental emissions standards until electricity use declines.
In Jackson, Mississippi, freezing temperatures were hampering efforts to repair a major water main break late Saturday, city officials said, reducing water pressure for residents.
“We are so grateful to the crew who brave these freezing temperatures this Christmas Eve as they work to restore pressure to residents. Their sacrifice does not go unnoticed and not only this administration This is appreciated not only by but also by all affected residents.” said in the statement.
The inclement weather conditions have made travel difficult even over the busy holiday weekend, with more than 5,000 flights canceled on Friday, more than 3,400 on Saturday and more than 1,350 for Christmas Day .
Road conditions were no better in some parts of the country, with blizzard conditions and roads covered with snow and ice.
In New York’s Erie County, where the blizzard hit, nearly 500 motorists were trapped in their vehicles between Friday night and Saturday morning, despite the county’s ban on driving during the storm, according to county executive Mark Polonkarz .
Polonkarz said that National Guard troops had been called in to help “rescue people trapped in vehicles” and transport medical workers to relieve colleagues working in hospitals for more than a day.
According to the National Weather Service, Buffalo, located in Erie County, measured 43 inches of snow as of 8:45 a.m. Sunday.
Dangerous weather conditions claim lives
New York Gov. Cathy Hochul said Saturday that she would ask the federal government for a “declaration of emergency that allows us to request reimbursement for the extraordinary expenses of all the overtime and the fact that we’ve brought in mutual aid from other parts of the country.” ” state.” “.
All three of the storm-related deaths in New York occurred in Erie County. Poloncarz said Saturday morning that two people died in separate incidents Friday night after emergency medical personnel failed to reach their homes in time to attend to medical emergencies. Details about the third death, confirmed by a county spokesman Saturday afternoon, were not immediately available.
“The two deaths in Buffalo related to the storm because people couldn’t get medical attention again have a crisis in front of your eyes and make you realize that the lives that ambulances and emergency medical workers save are the most important for the blizzard.” Can’t reach people during the situation,” Hochul said.
Other deaths related to the storm have been reported across the country. This includes:
- Colorado: Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, reported two cold-related deaths since Thursday, one man found near a building’s power transformer possibly seeking heat, and the other in an alleyway.
- KANSAS: Three people have died in weather-related traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
- Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, including a traffic accident in Montgomery County, according to officials.
- Missouri: One person has died after a camper slipped off an icy driveway and fell into a frozen creek, Kansas City police said.
- Ohio: Eight people have died as a result of weather-related car accidents, including four in a crash on Interstate 75 Saturday morning when a semi-truck crossed the median and collided with an SUV and a pickup truck Gone, officials said.
- Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed one death related to the storm on Friday.
- Wisconsin: The Wisconsin State Patrol reported one fatal accident on Thursday due to the winter weather.
What to expect as the storm gradually weakens and dangerous conditions persist
Strong winds behind an Arctic cold front that moved through this week will produce lake-effect snow and blizzard conditions at times across parts of the Great Lakes this Sunday.
Blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings, and winter weather advisories cover the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes region, and the Ohio Valley.
An additional 8 to 16 inches of lake effect snow is possible.
The storm system is expected to gradually weaken as it moves across southeastern Canada, moving slowly over the next few days and pulling arctic Canadian air down into the eastern half of the country.
The Arctic wind will gradually reduce towards Monday.
According to the National Weather Service, dangerously cold air coupled with low temperatures will pose a life-threatening risk to stranded travelers, outdoor workers, livestock and pets.
The weather service warned, “In some areas, being outside can result in frostbite within minutes.”
As cold air continues to damage the warm waters of the Great Lakes, lake-effect snowfall and blizzard conditions are expected to continue, but gradually subside.
Still, strong winds gusts up to 60 mph, which move along the Great Lakes’ icy bottom, will continue to create extremely dangerous road conditions.
From Christmas night through Monday, another low-pressure system from the Pacific will bring another surge of moisture to the Pacific Northwest and then northern California, according to the weather service.
CNN’s Joe Sutton, Isa Kauffman-Gabel, Selina Tabor, Mike Saenz and David J. Lopez contributed to this report.