More than 100 million Americans have been warned to brace for a “bomb cyclone” that will bring severe winter weather to the United States.
Temperatures plummeted across the central states, with temperatures dropping to -25F (-31C) in Montana.
More than 1,800 flights in and out of US airports canceled, 114 million people under weather alerts Snow and life-threatening winds Cause holiday travel chaos.
Just days before Christmas, nearly 4,000 flights within, to or from the United States were delayed as blizzard warnings were in effect for parts of eight states.
More than 120 million people are under wind chill warnings. Temperatures dropped more than 30 degrees in a matter of minutes in some areas, forecasters said.
By the end of the weather system, an estimated 192 million people in 46 states will experience sub-zero wind chill.
Hundreds of drivers are trapped
In South Dakota, more than 100 drivers were stranded as an arctic storm battered the state with sub-zero temperatures.
The local sheriff’s office told drivers to stay in their cars and call 911 as authorities worked to free those trapped.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe emergency manager Robert Oliver said tribal authorities had been working to clear roads so they could deliver propane and firewood to homes but faced unrelenting winds that caused drifts of more than 10 feet in some places. He said five people had died in recent storms, including last week’s blizzard.
In Minnesota, police responded to nearly 50 crashes between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Wet roads also caused 118 vehicle breakdowns and one crash involving a semi-truck, the state patrol said.
In South Dakota, a winter storm system left some motorists stranded on city streets, according to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Workers moved people from their cars throughout the night. A photo from the agency showed people sleeping in makeshift beds on the floor of the building.
“It’s not like the snowy days when you were a kid”
President Joe Biden has warned Americans to take the storm seriously.
“It’s not like a snow day when you were a kid,” he said after being briefed by federal officials.
“This is serious business.”