The United States is preparing for a powerful storm, between falling temperatures and “cyclonic bomb”

Thousands of delayed or canceled flights, freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall: the first effects of a storm like no other “only once in a generation” were felt, Thursday, December 22, in a large part of the United States. Authorities are warning of very dangerous travel conditions, as millions of Americans have to hit the roads and airports for the holiday season.

“Please take this storm extremely seriously”urged President Joe Biden on Thursday. “I encourage everyone (…) to listen to local warningshe added. It is serious. »

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Several states, such as Oklahoma and Kentucky, have already declared states of emergency. “We not only have a large part of the country that is affected by these winter storms, but also some of the key hubs”Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday on MSNBC.

More than 1,700 flights were canceled Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. Chicago and Denver airports were particularly hard hit. American Airlines, Southwest and United airlines have said they are waiving fees for ticket changes on flights scheduled for the next few days.

According to the authorities, snow and winds are likely to cause blizzards in some places, making any movement “dangerous or even sometimes impossible”. The National Weather Service (NWS), the national weather service, has warned that it has already observed sharp drops in temperature “in an hour or less”.

Down to –55°C

This icy front should strengthen by Friday and continue over the Christmas weekend. His power caused the NWS agency in Buffalo, New York, to say that it was “of a once-in-a-generation storm”.

The Midwest and the Great Lakes region will be particularly affected this weekend, with blizzards. The temperature felt in the Great Plains region is expected to reach up to -55°C.

“A cold of this magnitude could cause frostbite on exposed skin within minutes, as well as hypothermia and death if exposure is prolonged”, alerted the NWS. The gusts can also blow up to 80 km / h, causing possible falling trees and power cuts.

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The private weather site AccuWeather warns of the possible formation of a “cyclone bomb”, formed by the meeting of polar air with a mass of warmer air, causing a very rapid drop in pressure. But starting Thursday, millions of Americans are expected at airports across the country, with the holiday season this year set to be “busier” than in 2021, with a return “at pre-pandemic levels”according to the agency in charge of security in transport.


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Roads also promise to be busy, with 102 million Americans having to drive to where they will be spending the holidays, according to the American Automobile Association. In total, about 112 million people must travel at least 80 kilometers between December 23 and January 2, according to this organization, the third highest level since it began counting in 2000.

The World with AFP

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