Millions hunker down as storm hits eastern US, Canada

Jan 17, 2022: AFP reports suggest Millions of Americans hunkered down as a major winter storm hit the eastern United States with heavy snow and ice knocking power out for an estimated 145,000 customers.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said the storm was bringing a combination of heavy snowfall, freezing rain and strong winds, affecting the southeastern and coastal Mediterranean before reaching New England and southern Canada. The NWS said some areas along the Appalachian mountain range could receive up to an inch of snow per hour until Monday, while snowfall could continue until Tuesday.

As of mid-Sunday, about 235,000 consumers had lost power in the southeast, including more than 150,000 in Carolinas, according to the website PowerOutage.US, although it appears that some will be back online by evening. 

The storm created hurricanes in Florida and flooded parts of the coast, while icy conditions and strong winds in the Carolinas and Appalachians raised concerns. Transportation was severely disrupted, thousands of flights were canceled, and part of the busy Interstate Highway I-95 in North Carolina was closed.

As of Sunday evening, approximately 3,000 flights were canceled inside or outside the United States, and another 4,200 were delayed, according to the website FlightAware. Drivers were warned of dangerous road conditions and major travel headaches from Arkansas in the south to the Canadian border state of Maine.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Friday, and snowstorms were working before noon to clear the streets. Virginia and North Carolina have also declared a state of emergency. In North Carolina, students were shaken up after the storm caused the roof of a college residence hall to collapse, according to a local ABC news station, though no one was hurt.

The NWS also reported some snow in Pensacola, Florida, and light snow in general, Atlanta, Georgia. The storm is expected to cause some coastal flooding, and the NWS warns that winds could approach the strength of the hurricane off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

The northeastern United States has already experienced blizzard earlier this month. Hundreds of motorbikes were stranded on a major highway connecting the capital, Washington DC, for more than 24 hours as the storm swept the northeast.

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