This past week, a powerful winter storm swept across the United States, bringing heavy snow, high winds, and brutally cold temperatures. Buffalo, New York was hit particularly hard, with 43 inches of snow falling, leaving seven people dead and 500 motorists stranded in their vehicles. New York Governor Kathy Hochul described the storm as "the most devastating storm in Buffalo's long storied history." As of 11 AM ET, 250,000 homes and businesses were without power, with nearly half of those affected in Maine and New York. The US Department of Energy declared an emergency in Texas due to a shortage of electricity, and in Jackson, Mississippi, frigid temperatures were hampering efforts to repair a large water main break.
The storm also snarled travel during the busy holiday weekend, with over 5,000 flights canceled on Friday, 3,400 on Saturday, and 1,350 on Christmas Day. Across the US, seven storm-related deaths have been reported, with New York's Erie County reporting four fatalities. To try to reduce the strain on the power grid, officials have asked customers to set their thermostats lower than usual, and have warned of potential rolling blackouts if the strain becomes too much.
As the storm begins to ease, temperatures are forecast to rebound later in the week with a much-welcomed warming trend. It is important to take extra care when severe weather strikes, and to stay informed about the latest developments.