Winter storm Elliott ravaged the Midwest and Northeast on Friday and Saturday, canceling flights, causing widespread power outages and breaking snowfall records in Buffalo, New York, as more than half of the United States is placed under winter storm watches, warnings and advisories on Christmas Eve.
More than 2,500 flights to, out of and within the United States were canceled and another 5,700 delayed as of 3 p.m. Saturday, after nearly 6,000 were canceled and 11,500 delayed on Friday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware, with the hardest hit airports being Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago O’Hare, Denver and LaGuardia.
More than 2 million people in the United States and Canada had lost power as of 9:30 a.m. Saturday, including more than 333,000 customers in Quebec, 465,000 in North Carolina, 337,000 in Tennessee, 234,000 in Maine and 74,000 in New York, according to PowerOutage .us.
In a statement Thursday, President Joe Biden warned that the storm is “not like a snow day, you know, when you were a kid,” calling it “serious stuff” and advising Americans planning to travel to “travel now.”
At least 15 people have died from the storm in the United States, CNN reported, including one in a car crash in Wisconsin, three in Kentucky, two in New York, three in Kansas, one in Missouri, one in Tennessee and four in “weather-related car crashes in Ohio.
Officials in New Jersey, where temperatures are forecast to drop after heavy rains through Friday, had warned drivers to stay off the roads. New York Times reported, while in Buffalo, New York, the National Weather Service warned snowy weather and low visibility will make travel “almost impossible.”
In Ohio, traffic stopped by more than a dozen cars Friday afternoon.
Buffalo, New York, meanwhile, broke a daily snowfall record on Friday, with 22.3 inches on the ground — nearly double the previous daily record of 12.6 inches set in 1976, according to AccuWeather.
What you should look for
Strong winds and more than a foot of snow can affect some parts of the country. In Buffalo, New York, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning as a band of lake-effect snow brought more than a foot of snow and zero visibility at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Heavy rain followed by freezing temperatures in New England is expected to cause dangerous icy conditions. Blizzard warnings are also in effect for parts of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, with winter storm warnings throughout the Great Lakes region.
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Winter Storm Elliott: Nearly 2,000 US flights canceled as megastorm disrupts holiday travel (Forbes)