Nearly 250 million Americans and Canadians from Texas to Quebec are affected by a massive winter storm this Christmas weekend.
As of 9:30 AM ET December 23, 2022, over two hundred million people, or roughly sixty percent of the U.S. population, were under winter weather warnings and advisories across the country, the National Weather Service (NWS) stated on Twitter.
The heavy snow and strong winds have claimed over fifteen lives since Wednesday according to the CNN, while the BBC raises the count to nineteen.
The fatalities were reportedly caused by car crashes, exposure and storm damage, and even delayed response to medical incidents.
A horrific pile-up of at least forty-six vehicles left four people dead and many injured on Friday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol confirmed, as crews continued to clear fifteen commercial vehicles from the roadway.
Dramatic videos show the scene of a deadly pileup on the Ohio Turnpike that involved approximately 50 vehicles during snowy conditions.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 23, 2022
While authorities urged citizens to stay indoors and avoid non-essential travel, 1.5 million Americans were left without electricity due to weather-related power outages.
Railways and air travel are also disrupted by the unprecedented storm, stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico. Nearly ten thousand U.S. flights have been canceled since Thursday, CNBC reports.
— Rob Wright Images 🇺🇦🌻 (@RobWrightImages) December 23, 2022
“The ongoing major winter storm will continue to produce areas of heavy snow, strong winds, and life-threatening wind chills through Saturday,” the National Weather Service warns. “If traveling for the holiday, please use extreme caution and pay attention to the latest forecasts and updates.”
In the exact words used by NWS New York on Twitter, citizens should “stay warm & merry today,” as this Christmas will be a “cold and gusty holiday.”