US: 22 people killed in winter storm, massive power disruption

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WASHINGTON:  The Arctic blast and the winter storm that tore down the power lines across the United States on Christmas Eve left more than 3,15,000 homes and businesses without electricity and at least 22 people killed.

All kinds of transportation – planes, trains, and vehicles – were disrupted due to the storm this holiday weekend, closing hundreds of miles of road and air travel cancellations.

As bone-chilling air continues to grip the US, the storm still pummels parts of the Upper Midwest and interior Northeast with heavy snow and blizzard conditions.

Talking about the weather in Erie County including Buffalo, Executive Mark Poloncarz told reporters that blizzard conditions are expected to continue through at least Sunday morning.

The winter storm could continue for at least the next 36 hours, with the blizzard warning in effect until 7 am Christmas morning, Poloncarz added.

“This is still a life-threatening situation,” he said. “This is nothing to be trifled with.”

The county’s Deputy Commissioner of Disaster Preparedness and Homeland Security, Gregory Butcher, said the storm will be significant “for days to come.”

Earlier, more than 2,000 flights were cancelled by various airlines across the world on Saturday morning.

Total flight delays within, into or out of the US amounted to about 4,000 as of Saturday morning, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, which showed that total US flight cancellations stood at around 2,000.

The flight cancellations on Saturday morning included over 450 from Southwest Airlines and nearly 400 from Delta Air Lines Inc. The flight disruptions came as an arctic blast gripped much of the United States on Saturday, causing power outages and car wrecks.

Plummeting temperatures were predicted to bring the coldest Christmas Eve on record to several cities from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

A massive winter storm battered the US on Friday with frigid temperatures, high winds and heavy snow, leaving at least nine people dead, knocking out power to over a million customers and wrecking holiday plans from coast to coast, reported CNN.

All modes of travel – planes, trains and automobiles – were being disrupted: There were hundreds of miles of road closures and flight cancellations were growing rapidly. In New York, flooding along the Long Island Rail Road forced part of the Long Beach branch to temporarily shut down. (ANI)

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