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Live Updates: Winter Storm Sweeps America Ahead of Holidays

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MISSION, Kan. (AP) – Tens of millions of Americans endured freezing temperatures, blizzard conditions, power outages and canceled holiday gatherings Friday because of a winter storm that forecasters said was near unprecedented in its breadth, exposing about 60% of the US population to some sort of winter weather advisory or warning.

More than 200 million people were issued an advisory or warning Friday, the National Weather Service said. The weather service’s map “represents one of the largest spans of winter weather warnings and advisories,” the forecasters said.

The power outages left about 1.4 million homes and businesses in the dark, according to the PowerOutage website, which tracks utility reports. Utilities in Nashville, Memphis and throughout the Tennessee Valley said they were implementing blackouts Friday to save energy as the region battles an extreme cold front.

And more than 4,600 flights within, to or from the United States were canceled on Friday, according to tracking site FlightAware, causing more chaos as travelers try to get home for the holidays.

We just have to stay positive. Anger is not going to help us at all, ”said Wendell Davis, who plays basketball with a France team and was waiting Friday at O’Hare in Chicago after a series of flight cancellations. After her flight to Cincinnati was canceled on Friday afternoon, Davis considered renting a car and driving to Columbus because train service was suspended. But first he was trying to locate his luggage.

The huge storm stretched from border to border. In Canada, WestJet canceled all flights Friday at Toronto Pearson International Airport, starting at 9 a.m. And in Mexico, migrants expected near US border in unusually cold temperatures as they awaited a ruling from the United States Supreme Court on whether and when to lift pandemic-era restrictions that are preventing many from seeking asylum.

Forecasters said a bomb cyclone – when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly during a strong storm – had developed near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions including high winds and snow.

Even though fleets of snow plows and salt trucks were deployed, the driving was dangerous and sometimes deadly. The Kansas Highway Patrol said three people were killed in a separate vehicle collision in northern Kansas this week. The collisions happened Wednesday evening as freezing cold and snow moved through the area. The drivers involved in the collisions lost control of their vehicles on icy roads.

In Kansas City, Missouri, a driver died Thursday after skidding in a creek. Meanwhile, Michigan State Police reported multiple crashes on Friday, including a pile-up involving nine tractor-trailers.

Activists were also rushing to pull the homeless out of the cold. Nearly 170 adults and children were keeping warm early Friday in Detroit in a shelter and warming center designed to accommodate 100 people.

“That’s a lot of extra people,” but “you can’t” turn anyone away, said Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services, which runs the two facilities.

In Chicago, Andy Robledo planned to spend the day organizing efforts to monitor homeless people through his nonprofit, Feeding People Through Plants. Robledo and volunteers build tents modeled after ice fishing tents, including a plywood subfloor.

“It’s not a house, it’s not an apartment, it’s not a hotel room. But it’s a huge step up from what they had before,” Robledo said.

In Portland, Oregon, authorities opened five emergency shelters. Fallen trees and power lines closed roads in the Portland metro area. And nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Interstate 84, a major highway through the Columbia River Gorge, was closed Friday morning.

All bus services were suspended in the greater Seattle area Friday morning. And DoorDash has suspended delivery service due to unsafe conditions in parts of several states, including Minnesota and Iowa.

In far northern Indiana, lake-effect snow flowing from Lake Michigan could push storm totals more than a foot in some areas by Sunday, said National Meteorologist Mark Steinwedel. Weather Service in Syracuse, Indiana.

“It’s really going to add up,” he said, predicting “a pretty awful trip.”

The Weather Service is predicting the coldest Christmas in more than two decades in Philadelphia, where school officials moved classes online Friday.

In South Dakota, Governor. On Thursday night, Kristi Noem activated the state National Guard to transport firewood from the Black Hills Forest Service to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, with some members stranded at home with diminished fuel.

Other tribes were also struggling, including the Oglala Sioux tribe in the western part of the state, which used snowmobiles to reach members who lived at the end of mile-long dirt roads.

But with the vehicles stalled in the 10ft drifts, officials were considering using horses to deliver essentials to some homes as they appealed to federal officials for help.

“It’s been a hell of a fight so far,” Tribal Chairman Frank Star Comes Out said.

In Maine, gusts approaching 70 mph (113 km/h) were reported along the coast Friday morning. At the summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast, the wind peaks at 150 mph (2,410 km/h). The governor closed state offices, ferry service to the Casco Bay islands was suspended, and flooding led to water rescues.

In Boston, rain combined with a high tide sent waves over Boston’s Long Wharf Seawall and flooded some downtown streets.

With temperatures dropping to 7 degrees (-13.9 Celsius) early Friday in northern Mississippi, Kyle Young ditched the shorts he normally wears for work at a Starkville store that sells clothing and home décor. Mississippi State University.

“It’s very cold here,” said Young, who dressed in layers as he shopped quickly with last-minute Christmas shoppers. “I can usually sting him.”

In Jackson, Mississippi, the mayor had expressed concern that the city’s beleaguered water supply system, which has led to numerous water shortages in recent years, remained vulnerable to sub-zero temperatures. . But while there were some major water outages, the main waterworks “withstood overnight temperature drops,” city spokeswoman Melissa Faith Payne said.

It was so bad in Vermont that Amtrak canceled service for the day and non-essential state offices were closing early.

“I hear crews seeing crop trees being pulled out by the roots,” Mari McClure, president of Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, said at a news conference.

Calling it a “kitchen sink storm,” the New York Governor. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday as wintry weather heads for the state.

In eastern Iowa, sportscaster Mark Woodley became a Twitter sensation after being called out to do live stand-ups in the wind and snow because sporting events were canceled. As of midday on Friday, a compilation of his TV stand-ups had been viewed nearly 5 million times on Twitter.

“I have good news and I have bad news,” he told a presenter. The good news is that I can still feel my face right now. The bad news is that I wish I couldn’t.


Bleeding reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press reporters Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit; Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon; Zeke Miller in Washington; and Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this report.

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