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Thousands of flights cancelled across US as forecasters warn of ‘bomb cyclone’

Some places have experienced temperatures plummeting 10 degrees Celsius within a matter of hours.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 23rd 2022, 2:41 PM

THOUSANDS OF FLIGHTS were cancelled and homeless shelters are overflowing amid one of the most treacherous holiday travel seasons the US has seen in decades.

240 million Americans, or 72% of the population, are currently under severe weather warnings.

Some places have experienced temperatures plummeting 10 degrees Celsius within a matter of hours as forecasters warn of an impending “bomb cyclone” that could make conditions even worse before Christmas.

“Winter weather hazards remain in effect from the Canadian border south to the Rio Grande (border river with Mexico), Gulf Coast and central Florida Peninsula while spanning from the Pacific Northwest to the Eastern Seaboard,” the National Weather Service said in a report earlier today.

The warnings appear to be one of the most sweeping sets of US winter weather advisories ever.

A temperature of – 12 degrees Celsius was recorded Friday in normally mild Dallas, Texas, while places like Des Moines, Iowa, will feel like -38C, making it possible to suffer frostbite in less than five minutes.

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“This is not like a snow day when you were a kid,” President Joe Biden warned yesterday in the Oval Office after a briefing from federal officials. “This is serious stuff.”

Forecasters are expecting a bomb cyclone — when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm — to develop today near the Great Lakes. That will stir up blizzard conditions, including heavy winds and snow.

In Texas, temperatures were expected to quickly plummet yesterday, but state leaders promised there would not be a repeat of the February 2021 storm that overwhelmed the state’s power grid and was blamed for hundreds of deaths.

Elsewhere in the US, authorities worried about the potential for power failures and warned people to take precautions to protect older and homeless people and livestock — and, if possible, to postpone travel.

The biting cold is an immediate concern for more than one million customers, mainly in the US south and east, who were without power as of Friday morning, according to electricity tracker poweroutage.us.

Some utilities were urging customers to turn down their thermostats to conserve energy.

More than 2,156 flights within, into or out of the US had been cancelled as of yesterday afternoon, according to the tracking site FlightAware. Airlines have also cancelled 1,576 Friday flights. Airports in Chicago and Denver were reporting the most cancellations.

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