Millions of households without electricity: 23 dead in winter storm "Elliott"

In the USA, large parts of the country are groaning under the massive consequences of the arctic winter storm "Elliott".

Millions of households without electricity: 23 dead in winter storm "Elliott"

In the USA, large parts of the country are groaning under the massive consequences of the arctic winter storm "Elliott". The consequences are temperature drops, power failures and local breakdowns in the rescue services. Thousands of flights are cancelled.

The violent arctic winter storm "Elliott" keeps the USA in suspense with masses of snow and icy temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees. According to the US weather service NWS, the historic cold front in the center and east of the country is expected to last over the Christmas weekend. The broadcaster NBC reported at least 23 fatalities, citing local authorities. Weather-related deaths were mostly due to accidents on mirror-smooth or snow-covered roads. At times, more than 1.6 million homes were without power, most of them on the east coast of the United States. While New York Governor Kathy Hochul sent the National Guard to Buffalo, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave the cautious all-clear regarding flight operations.

As the NWS weather service announced on its website, the snowstorms are expected to continue over the weekend, especially in the Great Lakes region. The authority called on travelers to exercise extreme caution and warned of so-called whiteout conditions, i.e. severely restricted visibility and orientation through the snow. Traveling under these conditions is "extremely dangerous and at times impossible," it said. There was also a warning about the low temperatures: it was said that even a few minutes in the cold could lead to frostbite.

In the state of New York, which was particularly hard hit by the freezing cold, Governor Kathy Hochul sent the National Guard to Erie County and the capital, Buffalo, on the border with Canada. In Erie County, emergency services were at times overwhelmed. Marc Poloncarz, the person responsible for the district, called on Twitter to only call the emergency number in the “most critical, life-threatening cases” in order to keep the lines free. He urged residents to stay in their homes despite power and heating outages. In Buffalo, also in the state of New York, the snow was more than 70 centimeters high, according to media reports. The local airport should therefore remain closed until Monday.

Toronto, Canada meteorologist Kelsey McEwen tweeted that waves up to eight meters high had been reported in Lake Erie. The NWS reported wind gusts of up to 120 kilometers per hour swept over the city of Fairport Harbor, Ohio.

The traffic departments of several states also advised motorists to stay at home - and that at the most popular travel time of the year. Millions of travelers were also stranded at airports, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York, on their way to their families. The winter storm canceled 2,300 US flights and delayed another 5,300 flights on Saturday alone, according to Flightaware. With a view to air traffic, however, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg later gave the cautious all-clear. The most extreme disruptions have passed "as airline and airport operations are gradually recovering," he tweeted.

According to website Power Outage, more than a million homes had lost most of their power by late Saturday night. Nevertheless, people were asked to save electricity. Power cuts have been imposed in some parts of the country, including North Carolina.

The Arctic cold front messed up the Christmas plans of many travelers: According to the flight data website FlightAware, almost 6,000 flights had already been canceled on Friday. US media, citing weather experts, saw the conditions for a so-called bomb cyclone fulfilled in some places: This is a weather phenomenon in which the air pressure drops extremely within a short time and which increases the force of the storm.

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