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Winter storm Elliott – latest: Driving ban lifted in Buffalo as blizzard deaths hit 38

Buffalo region worst affected in US with at least 38 deaths after blizzard dumped 50 inches of snow on city

‘Dangerous situation’ in Buffalo as storm kills dozens across US

One of the coldest Christmases in modern memory has left more than 60 people dead across the US, with 38 people killed in and around the city of Buffalo, which was hammered by over 50 inches of snow.

Nearly a week after the extreme blizzard, the driving ban in Buffalo was lifted on Thursday, although motorists have been advised to be careful around snow-removal equipment and at intersections.

“Hundreds of very large pieces of equipment will still be out clearing streets from curb-to-curb,” Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz warned in a tweet.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Poloncarz confirmed three additional deaths, marking the deadliest storm in western New York in at least two generations.

National Guard went door to door conducting welfare checks in neighbourhoods that lost electricity. As the city continues to dig out of the storm, the death toll is expected to climb further.

Beyond New York state, winter storm Elliott’s icy bite also saw temperatures plunge to record lows in parts of Montana, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, and wrought havoc on Christmas travel plans.


‘Freezing, snowy nightmare before Christmas’ says NASA

NASA’s satellite observations were described as “the freezing, snowy nightmare before Christmas” on Friday.

On the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) global model, the darkest blue areas indicated where surface temperatures are expected to drop at least 25 degrees (Fahrenheit) below average during the polar vortex.

Winter Storm Elliott will bring whiteout conditions, howling winds and several inches of snow.

Wind chill could push temperatures to -7F in Dallas, -14F in Memphis, and -32F in Kansas City, and -45F in Sioux Falls, The Washington Post reported. The National Weather Service in Cheyenne warned that temperatures could fall to as low as -70F in eastern Wyoming.

Weather map of US on December 23 (NASA)
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 12:43

Advice for pets

Forecasters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota had advice for those taking care of their pets during the harsh weather.

“Like people, animals also feel the effects of wind chill, and prolonged time outdoors can be dangerous for them as well,” the National Weather Service office said.

Louise Boyle23 December 2022 12:56

Wind chills set in

Dangerously cold wind chill was setting in across much of the US on Friday. The gusts will continue to affect and spread eastward throughout the day from the Rocky Mountains, the south, Midwest, Great Lakes and advancing across to the eastern seaboard.

This graphic is the forecast for temperature at 1pm (Eastern Standard Time) on Friday.

Temperatures plummeted across much of the US driven by wind chill on Friday (NOAA)
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 13:03

Power outages jump to 400,000 homes

The number of power cuts believed to be linked to hazardous winter storm conditions jumped on Friday morning.

Nearly 98,000 people were without power in Connecticut and more than 95,000 in Georgia. In Texas, nearly 80,000 were without power as public officials rushed to reassure customers than their standalone power grid would hold up. The collapse of the Texas power grid during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021 led to 200 deaths.

Power outages were also reported in South Caroline - 71,654 - and North Carolina, 57,178 by utility tracker

Power outages across the US on Friday morning amid Winter Storm Elliott (
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 13:08

Americans warned to travel with caution

Forecasters warned people venturing out over the holidays to travel with extreme caution after at least five deaths were already reported on the roads in Oklahoma and Kansas.

“The ongoing major winter storm will continue to produce areas of heavy snow, strong winds, and life-threatening wind chills through Saturday. If traveling for the holiday, please use extreme caution and pay attention to the latest forecasts and updates,” the National Weather Service warned.

Louise Boyle23 December 2022 13:15

What’s the difference between a wind chill warning and watch?

What’s the difference between a wind chill warning and a wind chill watch?

A Wind Chill Warning - means take action, according to the US government site, The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a wind chill warning when dangerously cold wind chill values are expected or occurring. If you are in an area with a wind chill warning, avoid going outside during the coldest parts of the day. If you do go outside, dress in layers, cover exposed skin, and make sure at least one other person knows your whereabouts. Update them when you arrive safely at your destination.

A Wind Chill Watch means be prepared. NWS issues a wind chill watch when dangerously cold wind chill values are possible. As with a warning, adjust your plans to avoid being outside during the coldest parts of the day. Make sure your car has at least a half a tank of gas, and update your winter survival kit.

A Wind Chill Advisory means be aware. NWS issues a wind chill advisory when seasonably cold wind chill values but not extremely cold values are expected or occurring. Be sure you and your loved ones dress appropriately and cover exposed skin when venturing outdoors.

Louise Boyle23 December 2022 13:44

Flight cancellations jump

Total flight delays on Friday reached 10,850 with 5,840 cancellations. Airports in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver were among the worst affected.

Travelers wait in line to check-in for their flights at Terminal 1 ahead of the Christmas Holiday at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport on Thursday (
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 13:57

Watch: Hot water turns into ice cloud as Missoula, Montana hit by extreme cold temperatures

A makeshift science experiment was caught on camera during extreme cold weather in Missoula, Montana.

A wind chill advisory remains in place until 11am (local time) on Friday and a weather advisory until 5am on Saturday. Wind chills as low as 30 below zero are forecast along with snow accumulations of one to four inches. The most snow is expected on Friday afternoon.

Forecasters warned drivers to take extreme caution due to slippery roads. The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Hot water turns into ice cloud as Missoula hit by extreme cold temperatures
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 14:10

President Joe Biden briefed on extreme weather

President Joe Biden was briefed on Winter Storm Elliott on Thursday and urged Americans to heed the warnings from forecasters.

“This is not like a snow day when you were a kid. This is serious stuff,” he said.

On Friday, the President and the First Lady will make a holiday visit to patients and families at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC.

Louise Boyle23 December 2022 14:33

Big freeze in the windy city

Mist rises from the ‘windy’ city of Chicago on the edge of Lake Michigan at sunrise on December 23, 2022, where temperatures reached -6F (-21C), ahead of the Christmas Holiday (AFP via Getty Images)
Louise Boyle23 December 2022 14:50

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