Extreme weather in the USA : cold wave is only slowly disappearing

Status: 26.12.2022 7:30 p.m

A snowstorm and extreme cold have killed at least 48 people in the United States. The cold front, which dominates large parts of the country, will weaken only slowly, according to meteorologists.

The extreme winter weather in the eastern half of the United States will continue to affect traffic and public life in the coming days beyond Christmas. The National Weather Service forecast that the cold front stretching from the Canadian border at the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande at the Mexican border will weaken only slowly.

Recently, the storm calmed down at least somewhat in most states. According to the weather service, the center of the cold front shifted north, to eastern Canada.

At least 38 dead so far

Weather warnings, locally impassable roads and power outages affected 60 percent of the American population. In western New York State alone, the cold killed 27 people. A city government spokesman said 20 of those fatalities were reported from the city of Buffalo. This increased the confirmed number of cold and severe weather deaths across the United States to at least 48.

In Buffalo, the hurricane-force storm had caused so-called whiteout conditions. A meteorological phenomenon is referred to as “whiteout” in which snow and dim sunlight produce extreme brightness in which contours and shadows disappear.

Snow plows and heavy ramming equipment also got stuck in some cases.

Image: Twitter/@Troyathy via REUTERS

Almost all states affected

The extreme weather conditions saw temperatures plummet below freezing in 48 states over the weekend, thousands of flights were canceled and residents were stranded in their homes covered in ice and snow.

1.7 million homes and businesses from the east to the west coast were temporarily without power. Between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, temperatures fell well below normal levels. Under these circumstances, one could suffer frostbite outdoors within minutes, warned the weather service.

Air traffic is also severely affected

More than 2,360 domestic and international flights were canceled on Saturday, according to the FlightAware website. At Tampa Airport in Florida, the thermometer showed temperatures below zero for the first time in almost five years, and according to the weather service, there were also frosts in other areas of the otherwise rather warm US state. Even in West Palm Beach, only six degrees were measured.

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