Thousands of flights cancelled as winter storm sweeps US

Washington, Dec 23 (EFE).- An expansive winter storm forced the cancellation of thousands of flights in the United States just as the holiday travel period gets underway ahead of Christmas.

Over 200 million people, or 60% of the US population, live in areas placed under winter weather warnings due to the storm, which has been described as “once in a generation.”

“An immense winter storm that has brought a frigid blast to much of the CONUS (continental US) along with impactful winter precipitation will persist in tracking across the eastern U.S. today,” the National Weather Service said Friday.

“The National Weather Service’s Watch Warning graphic depicts one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever. As of early Friday morning, over 240 million of people within the United States are under some form of winter weather warning or advisory.”

It added: “This includes 181 million for wind chill warnings or advisories, over 11 million for blizzard warning, 58 million for winter storm warnings, and over 500 thousand for ice storm warnings.”

The frigid conditions and snow brought by Arctic air forced the cancellation of 3,400 flights, most concentrated around the North and the Midwest in cities like New York, Detroit, Seattle and Boston, as well as Denver, according to FlightAware.

The adverse weather conditions are also affecting rail and road transportation, with Greyhound, the country’s largest bus company, warning that trips in the North and Midwest could be canceled or suffer changes.

“Travel has already been affected by this storm along with reported power outages. This system will have increasingly widespread impacts to travel going into the busy holiday travel time late this week, along with the potential for power outages from the expected high winds, heavy snows, significant icing and overall increased power consumption in places,” the NWS said.

At a press conference on Thursday, US president Joe Biden urged the country to take the storm “seriously” and “heed the local warnings.”

“This is not like a snow day when you were a kid. This is serious stuff,” he said. EFE


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