(CMR) More than 2,200 flights were canceled across the US on Thursday, with over 1000 more expected to be canceled for Friday, as a “once in a generation” storm batters the country heading into the holiday weekend. The severe weather will affect over 100 million Americans who had plans to travel for the holidays.
Reports are that 1 in 3 Americans were traveling this holiday season, with over 100M driving and over 7M flying. Some Airlines, like United Airlines, were preparing for the most passengers since the pandemic; however, traveling has been crippled by the storm.
According to CNN, a major arctic blast is plunging temperatures to dangerous levels in much of the US and a developing “bomb cyclone” is set to unload heavy snow and blizzard conditions, especially in the Midwest on Thursday and Friday – a combination making for a perilous few days leading up to Christmas.
The cold air and storm are affecting nearly every state, with more than 110 million people under winter-weather alerts for snow or icy conditions Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.
“This is not like a snow day, you know, when you’re a kid. This is serious stuff,” President Joe Biden said in a Thursday briefing, calling it “dangerous” and threatening. “If you all have travel plans, leave now. Not a joke.”
More than 150 million people – or nearly half of the US population – were under wind-chill alerts from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and from Washington state to Florida, with below-zero wind chills recorded as far south as Texas on Thursday morning and expected to reach the Southeast by Friday, CNN reported.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said temperatures of -50F (-45C) and -70F were possible in some parts of the country.