Winter storm in the US causes blackouts and hinders travel

BUFFALO, New York, USA— A severe winter storm knocked out power to 1.7 million homes and businesses across the United States on Saturday, unnerved millions of people about the prospect of further blackouts and paralyzed police, fire services and an airport in the snowy New York state.

Nationwide, authorities have attributed at least a dozen deaths to exposure to freezing temperatures, car accidents on icy roads and other effects of the storm, including two people who died at their homes outside Buffalo. , New York, after rescuers were unable to reach them in a historic blizzard.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday that Buffalo Niagara International Airport will be closed through Monday morning, some highways will be closed throughout Saturday and nearly all fire trucks in Buffalo are stranded in the snow.

“It doesn’t matter how many emergency vehicles we have: they can’t get through the conditions” created by the storm, Hochul explained.

Blinding blizzards, freezing rain and freezing cold also caused blackouts from Maine to Seattle, while a major power grid operator warned the 65 million people it serves in the eastern United States that blackouts may be necessary. scheduled.

Pennsylvania-based utility PJM Interconnection said power plants are having a hard time operating in the frigid weather and urged residents of 13 states to try to use electricity for basic purposes only.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides electricity to 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of the six surrounding states, on Saturday ordered local power companies to implement scheduled outages to “ensure electrical system reliability.”

Chris Muenks said he and his cats woke up Saturday morning to a cold home in Greeneville, Tennessee.

He said power was back on, but only to go out again mid-morning due to a planned blackout. Across the six states in the New England region, nearly 400,000 grid customers remained without power Saturday morning, with some utility companies warning it could be days before power is restored.

In North Carolina, nearly 370,000 customers lost power, according to PJM Interconnection — which covers all or part of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC — also warned that they could be necessary scheduled blackouts.

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