MORE than a million Americans were without power on Friday after forecasters warned of one of the most treacherous vacation travel times the US has seen in decades.
Thousands of flights were canceled as Christmas returnees headed to the airport.
Drifts of more than 10 feet can be seen on the roads in some areas.
The Minnesota National Weather Service said, “This event could be life threatening if you are stranded.”
The chaos comes amid plummeting temperatures, reaching as low as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.
And forecasters warn that a looming “bomb cyclone” could make conditions worse before Christmas.
The bad weather has already placed two-thirds of the country under extreme weather warnings.
“This is not like a snowy day when you were a kid,” President Joe Biden warned Thursday.
He added: “This is serious stuff.”
More than 3,400 flights within, to or from the United States have been canceled as of Friday morning, according to FlightAware.
Amtrak suspended service on more than 20 routes, primarily in the Midwest.
The NHL has postponed two games scheduled for Friday.
Cold air was moving east through the central United States, with wind chill indicators affecting about 135 million people in the coming days, Weather Service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook said Thursday.
Places like Des Moines, Iowa feel like minus 37 degrees, making it possible to get frostbite in less than five minutes.
Freezing rain, ice pellets and snow began falling in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday.
50 mph gusts of wind swept across the Portland, Oregon area, crashing trees onto homes.
In Texas, temperatures were expected to drop quickly.
State leaders have vowed there will be no repeat of the February 2021 storm that overwhelmed the state’s power grid and has been blamed for hundreds of deaths.
In Kansas City, Missouri, one person died after a vehicle plunged into an icy stream, police said.
Michigan State Police were preparing to deploy additional soldiers to assist motorists.
And along a toll road on Interstate 90 in northern Indiana, crews were prepared to clear up to a foot of snow as forecasters warned of blizzard conditions there beginning Thursday night.
The Philadelphia school district, the largest in Pennsylvania, announced the final classes of the calendar year on Friday would be held online rather than in person as planned.
In Montana, temperatures dropped as low as 50 below in Elk Park, a mountain pass on the Continental Divide.
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine warned of a “unique and dangerous” Thursday night flash freeze situation across the state.
In Buffalo, New York, forecasters were forecasting a “once in a generation storm” due to heavy snow with lake effect, wind gusts up to 65 mph, whiteouts and the potential for extensive power outages.
Denver was its coldest in 32 years on Thursday when the temperature dropped to minus 24F.
A coastal flood warning was in effect in Charleston, South Carolina Thursday.
The area, a popular tourist destination for its mild winters, was braised for high winds and freezing temperatures.
Among those with flights canceled was Ashley Sherrod, who was scheduled to fly from Nashville to Flint, Michigan Thursday afternoon.
Sherrod is now debating whether to drive or risk booking a Saturday flight which she fears will be cancelled.
She said: “My family is calling, they want me to come home for Christmas but they also want me to be safe.
“Christmas is starting to suck, for lack of a better word.”
Homeless shelters across the country have also been on alert amid the dangerously low temperatures.
And authorities warned people to take precautions to protect the elderly and livestock.
Some utilities have asked customers to turn down their thermostats to conserve energy.
In a bomb cyclone, the atmospheric pressure drops very quickly during a strong storm.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6978883/power-outages-flights-cancelled-bomb-cyclone-christmas/ Over 1 million Americans without power and thousands of flights canceled as bomb cyclone looms ahead of Christmas