MISSION, Kansas (AP) — Travelers across much of the eastern United States prepared Thursday for one of the most dangerous Christmas weekends in decades. Weather forecasters are warning of a ‘bomb cyclone’ that will bring heavy snow and winds and plunge temperatures. 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a few hours.
Frigid air is moving east through the central United States, with wind speed warnings affecting about 135 million people in the next few days, weather service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook said Thursday. Told. Places like Des Moines, Iowa can feel like minus 37 degrees and you can suffer frostbite within five minutes.
There has already been widespread disruption to the flight and train travel.
“This is nothing like the snow days when you were a kid,” President Joe Biden warned Thursday in the Oval Office after a briefing from federal officials. It’s a problem.”
Forecasters predict a bomb cyclone Cook says that when atmospheric pressure drops rapidly in a strong storm, it occurs near the Great Lakes, increasing the winds and creating a blizzard.
Robert Oliver, an emergency manager for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, said tribal officials are working to clear roads to get propane and firewood to homes, but in some places it is more than 10 feet high. Said it was facing constant winds that caused it to drift.
“With this weather and the amount of equipment we have, it’s not enough,” Oliver said, halting rescues of people stranded at home as the hydraulic fluid of heavy equipment froze in -41 degrees Celsius. I mentioned that I had to. Zero wind chill.
He said five people have died in recent storms, including last week’s blizzard. Oliver declined to give details and said his family was in mourning.
Democratic state legislator Sean Bordeaux said he was running out of propane heat at his home near Mission, a tribal reservation.
Temperatures were expected to drop sharply in Texas on Thursday, but state leaders promised there would be no repeat of the February 2021 storm that overwhelmed the state’s power grid. and responsible for hundreds of deaths.
“I think confidence will build in the coming days as people see that we have frigid temperatures and that the grid works easily,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference Wednesday.
A cold wave has reached El Paso and across the border to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with migrants camping and filling shelters outside. As the US awaits a decision on whether to lift restrictions It has prevented many from seeking asylum.
Elsewhere in the United States, officials are concerned about possible power outages, warning people to take precautions to protect the elderly, homeless and livestock, and to postpone travel if possible. Did. Some power companies were urging customers to lower their thermostats to save energy.
“This event could be life-threatening if you get stuck,” transportation and patrol officials reported dozens of crashes and off-road vehicles, according to an online post by Minnesota’s National Weather Service. .
The Michigan State Police prepared to deploy additional officers to help motorists. And along Interstate 90 in northern Indiana, a meteorologist had warned of blizzard conditions since Thursday night, so crew members said he was ready to clear as much as a foot of snow. rice field.
As of noon Thursday, more than 1,846 flights inside and outside the United States had been canceled, according to tracking site FlightAware. Airlines also canceled flight 931 on Friday. Chicago’s O’Hare, Midway and Denver airports reported the most cancellations.
Among those whose flights were canceled was Ashley Sherrod, who had scheduled a flight from Nashville to Flint, Michigan, on Thursday afternoon. Sherrod is now considering whether to drive or take the risk of booking a flight for Saturday and fears it will be cancelled.
“I got a call from my family asking me to come home for Christmas, but I also want them to be safe,” Sherrod said. “Christmas is starting to get worse for lack of a better word.”
Meanwhile, Amtrak has canceled more than 20 routes, mostly in the Midwest. Services between Chicago and Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit, and St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri were suspended until Christmas Day.
Some shelters in the Detroit area were already at capacity, including all 140 beds in COTS, a family-only shelter. However, the facility hopes to make room for others.
Morrell Ferguson said, “We’re not sending anyone back to this cold.
And in Portland, authorities opened four emergency shelters after declaring a state of emergency due to the bitter cold.
In Montana, temperatures dropped to minus 50 degrees Celsius (minus 46 degrees Celsius) at Elk Park, a trail on the Continental Divide. Schools and several ski resorts have announced closures, leaving thousands without power.
Near Big Sandy, Montana, rancher Rich Ross said he wasn’t too worried about his 3,500 pregnant cows weathering the cold weather, saying, “They’re very resilient animals.” , said they were acclimatizing to the weather.
In Buffalo, New York, notorious for its snowfall, heavy lake-induced snowfall, gusts of up to 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), whiteouts and the possibility of major blackouts have led forecasters to call it a “once-in-a-generation storm.” ” was predicted.Mayor Byron Brown urges people to stay home, NHL postpones Buffalo Sabers home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Denver, also accustomed to winter storms, was the coldest in 32 years on Thursday when morning temperatures at the airport dropped to minus 24 degrees Celsius (minus 31 degrees Celsius).
A coastal flood warning was issued for Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina. A popular tourist destination with mild winters, the region endured strong winds and freezing temperatures.
Vancouver International Airport experienced delays and cancellations earlier in the week as winter weather extended to Canada. A major winter storm is expected in Toronto Friday through Saturday, with winds of up to 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) and snow blowing, limiting visibility, Environment Canada said.
Breed was reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Her Associated Press journalists who contributed to this report were her Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit, her Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Jackie Quinn and her Zeke Miller in Washington.