Parts of the U.S. have already seen record-breaking cold temperatures as extreme winter weather systems move across the country this holiday week, and lives have been claimed due to the frigid conditions.
One woman was found curled up in the snow and in freezing temperatures outside her Michigan assisted living community home on Friday morning. According to CNN, at least 16 others have perished across seven states.
These include three people in Kansas who reportedly died in weather-related traffic accidents and another three people have also died in Kentucky, including one involving a vehicle accident. In Missouri, one person died after a caravan slid off an icy road into a frozen creek, and in New York state, three more people died from storm-related deaths. Additionally, four people perished in Ohio, one in Tennessee and one fatal crash victim in Wisconsin.
By 9:30 a.m. ET Friday, around 60% of the U.S. population was under a winter weather warning, said the National Weather Service. In Dallas, the lowest temperatures in four decades were reported that day.
“The life-threatening cold temperatures and in combination with dangerous wind chills will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded, individuals that work outside, livestock and domestic pets,” said the National Weather Service Saturday.
“If you must travel or be out in the elements, prepare for extreme cold by dressing in layers, covering as much exposed areas of skin as possible and pack winter safety kits in your vehicles. In some areas, being outdoors could lead to frostbite in minutes,” the service added. “Ensure outdoor animals and livestock have sufficient shelter.”
As of midday Christmas Eve, “more than 900,000 homes and businesses nationwide were without power… thanks to an Arctic blast and winter storm that tore down power lines with destructive winds and heavy snow and dipped temperatures dangerously low,” said CNN.
There were several hundred power outages across southeast Louisiana alone.
CNN also said that Atlanta, Ga.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa. and Tallahassee, Fla., were all forecast to have their coldest high temperature ever recorded Dec. 24, per National Weather Service data. Washington D.C. was forecast to see its coldest Christmas Eve since 1989, New York, is expected to have its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906, and both Chicago and Miami bracing are bracing for their coldest Christmas Eve temperatures since 1983.
Frigid temperatures were expected to cover most of the nation, although slightly warmer temperatures were expected in south Florida, the Southwest and the West Coast.