Christmas Blizzard: Massive Winter Storm Threatens to Disrupt Travel, Electricity for Millions
A widespread winter storm threatens to disrupt the plans of millions of holiday travelers over the next several days. Meanwhile, local authorities across the country are worried about power outages due to high winds and ice. Large parts of the US are bracing for blizzard conditions that could last through Christmas. The weather is likely to bring a dangerous combination of sub-zero temperatures, high winds, and a winter whiteout. The storm has already hit the Pacific Northwest. Today it will hammer the Rockies, then the Plains and Midwest with freezing temperatures and heavy snow. On Tuesday in Chicago, travelers raced through O’Hare International Airport, hoping to avoid delays and cancellations that the storm could bring. Thursday was already predicted to be the busiest holiday travel day. On Friday, the storm moves south. In Texas, the fear is power outages, after a historic freeze in 2021, that knocked out electricity to four million, and led to hundreds of deaths. Energy expert Do ug Lewin of Stoic Energy explained, “If it’s single digits in Dallas-Ft. Worth and it’s in the teens in Houston and south Texas, there’s very little chance there wouldn’t be rolling outages in those sort of conditions. It’s just too much demand.” But Lewin adds temperatures should be a little warmer this time around, so the state can hopefully keep its power lines up and running. Meanwhile, in northern California, another natural disaster has left homes in ruin, damaged roads and led to two deaths. Early Tuesday, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Rio Dell, north of San Francisco, cutting power to tens of thousands and destroying homes. Earthquake survivor Ginger Porter said, “We woke up to a big roar and things falling off the wall hitting us in the head.” Two died from medical emergencies during the quake, but authorities say for others, an alert system helped them to drop, cover, and keep safe. Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, sai d the alert was sent “ten seconds in advance of the earthquake shaking, to some three million people.” The quake area is lightly populated, which also helped. In the next several days, watch for temperatures to drop dramatically across much of the country , including central Florida this weekend.