Last updated on December 25th, 2022 at 06:51 pm
A severe winter storm that is moving through the country is causing chaos, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of people, and delaying holiday travel.
According to PowerOutage.us, the storm caused over 1.5 million households and businesses to lose power, with North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Maine among the hardest-hit states. Over 4,800 flights were canceled in the United States on Friday alone.
The weather is delaying package delivery across the United States, FedEx and UPS are saying, and some packages may not arrive until after Christmas.
With more than 200 million people under winter weather alerts, several sections of the country are expecting the coldest Holiday season in decades.
Some places in the Northeast, like Long Island and the shore of New Jersey, are being flooded by water from the sea. Waves as tall as 24 feet have been recorded in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
More than 100 temperature records may be tied or broken, according to National Weather Service predictions.
Situation in Chicago
Chicagoans hoping for a white Holiday Season may get much more than that because meteorologists are predicting a “near blizzard” that will bring snow and sub-freezing winds similar to the Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011.
There is a good chance that snow, strong winds, and cold air will arrive before the 25th.
The weather service said that a major storm system will be around from Thursday to Saturday. Blowing and piling snow, as well as very strong winds, will be the main effects from Thursday afternoon to Friday night.
On Thursday, which is one of the busiest travel days of the year, snow is expected, and the weather is expected to get worse on Friday.
are predicted to be well below average by Thursday and the next day, with wind chills between minus 20 and minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Forecasters stated that they have a high degree of confidence in “dangerous cold, strong winds perhaps capable of causing damage, as well as blowing or drifting snow.”
Kevin Birk, a meteorologist, said that the storm’s worst-case scenario is that it might be comparable to the fatal Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011, which poured more than 20 inches of snow on Chicago and killed hundreds.
We are certainly keeping a careful eye on the possibilities, but the specifics of that kind of scenario aren’t yet finalized.
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Change your Travel Plans
“How much snow we’ll actually get in the area is the biggest unknown,” Birk says that it seems likely that the system will help us in some way, even if it brings a lot of snow and blizzard-like conditions or just a little snow and sporadic near-blizzard conditions.
The storm hits at the same time as the busiest holiday travel period in years and a significant winter storm that has been engulfing most of the central and Midwest regions of the United States for the past week.
For the holiday season, 113 million people were expected to travel, and 90% of Illinois travelers took cars.
The number of people traveling this year has surpassed last year’s Tottotals more than 3.6 million ped is rapidly approaching pre-pandemic levels.
“People are changing their trip plans because we don’t know where this blizzard will hit or how intense it will be,” she said. Many individuals were attempting to travel today or tomorrow to avoid the effects of the snow.
The morning following the Groundhog Day blizzard, abandoned vehicles were all over northbound Lake Shore Drive.
Overnight, around a thousand cars were abandoned. According to the weather service, the storm’s total snowfall at O’Hare International Airport was estimated at 20.2 inches, making it the third-largest storm in Chicago’s recorded history.
The city developed an emergency plan in the wake of the 2011 blizzard, which is thought to have been the cause of 12 fatalities, to keep drivers and users of public transportation from becoming stranded on snow-covered roadways.
Jane Byrne Interchange
Since the completion of work on the long-awaited Jane Byrne Interchange, the storm may be the city’s highway system’s first test of the winter season.
The completion of construction will result in bigger off ramps and clearer lanes for emergency vehicles, just when they may be most needed, according to IDOT spokesperson Maria Castaneda.
Since 2008, there hasn’t been more than 3 inches of snow in the Chicago area, and the coldest December before 2022 was in 2000, when the wind chill was minus 17.