As winter storm Elliott takes over the United States, the travel situation is becoming more difficult by the hour. With Christmas temperatures dropping to -57C (-70F) across the country, over 200 million are people living in regions under weather warnings. Worse yet, 1.5 million are now without power as blackouts roll across the country.
Bomb Cyclone Affecting Most of the US
Flooding, blizzards, and dangerous temperature drops have caused more than 10,000 flights to be canceled over the first 48 hours of the storm. More than 60 percent of the population of the United States was affected by the so-called bomb cyclone, and travel across the country is coming to a stop.
As temperatures dropped and icy conditions left the roads dangerously icy, dozens of deaths were reported across the country. More than four feet of snow dropped across the Great Lakes while the temperature reached -45.6C (-50F) in Montana, and -38C (-37F) in Iowa.
When gusts of winds exasperated the situation, trees snapped and knocked down power lines to nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses across the country.
President Biden announced to the nation that “this is not like a snow day when you were a kid – this is serious stuff,” as governments across the country declared emergencies.
Power Outages Widespread
Across the eastern United States, 65 million people have been informed that rolling blackouts may be required. Pennsylvania power company, PJM Interconnection, asked people across 13 states to reduce their power through the Christmas holidays to help conserve power.
Currently, nearly 250,000 people across New England are without power while nearly 500,000 were without power in North Carolina.
US Travel Comes to a Standstill
50-car deadly pile-ups on the Ohio Turnpike and deaths on the icy roads of Missouri and Kansas have been reported. While roads have been closed due to the widespread ice, snow piles, and flooding, air travel is no more promising.
After seeing more than 10,000 flights canceled around, airlines have scrambled to find empty seats. During one of the busiest periods for air travel since before the pandemic, the Federal Aviation Administration reported 47,554 flights scheduled for Thursday, 30,875 for Saturday, and 27,997 for Christmas Sunday.
“Wind and blowing snow could cause delays in Chicago, and wind could cause delays in and around Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, and Philadelphia,” said Federal Aviation Administration officials. “Seattle, San Francisco, and airports serving Colorado ski resorts could see delays from low clouds and visibility.”