The Arctic front that has covered more than half of the US territory with snow and ice during the Christmas weekend has begun to subside this Sunday, although the week will also start with temperatures below zero in the northwest of the country. Almost thirty deaths in accidents caused by bad weather -seven of them in the northwest of the State of New York-, more than 1.6 million homes without electricity and nightmare days in air transport, with thousands of cancellations , are the main traces left by a storm described as historic by the National Weather Service (NWS, in its English acronym). Regarding the number of fatalities, many of them trapped in their vehicles by the snow, NBC News puts the balance at 28, while CNN reports a total of 26.
Although the snow spared the Big Apple, northwestern New York State spent Christmas Eve under a seven-foot blanket as the nation’s largest power company advised all its customers in the state in text messages to lower the temperature on the thermostat to conserve energy, due to “extreme cold, high demand and interstate distribution issues that are causing natural gas supply shortages.” New York City, under blazing sunshine that has lasted all weekend, experienced a 50-degree drop in temperatures between early Friday morning and Saturday morning, according to the traditional measurement in Central Park. The thermometer had not dropped this much in the Big Apple since January 2019.
Although the Arctic front weakens as it moves east, it is still “extremely dangerous to travel in these conditions” in the northwestern half of the country, the NWS recalled. At noon this Sunday, nearly 200,000 people were under alert for a snow storm, most of them in New York State. On Christmas Eve there had been four million, and more than 200 million throughout the country. The Buffalo airport, in the northwest of the state, remains closed although the number of canceled flights, less than 3,000 according to the Flight Aware tracking website, is lower than in previous days. The Milwaukee (Wisconsin) airport is also closed.
The electricity supply, which left more than 1.5 million homes without light between Friday and Saturday, has been restored for the most part, and at noon this Sunday only some 260,000 users were left without service, according to data from the web Power Outage.
The NWS on Thursday called the winter storm, an arctic air mass, or polar vortex — a large, rotating mass of cold air that often circles the Arctic but occasionally drifts south of the pole, historic. “A storm that only happens once in a generation,” specified the meteorological service.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
The anger of the commentator and his viral video
The anecdote of a weekend marked by chaos in transportation and celebrations behind closed doors was the improvised live coverage of an Iowa sports commentator, forced by his network to narrate from the street, under the snowfall, the inclement weather during an endless live program dedicated to the storm. Mark Woodley, a sports reporter for KWWL News 7, NBC’s local station in Waterloo, Iowa, was literally pushed out into the street, where he repeatedly went live. As a video that soon went viral shows, the reporter was becoming increasingly irritated, says the Axios portal. When the presenter asked him from the studio what the feeling was on the street, Woodley replied: “Just like eight minutes ago, when you asked me the same question … It’s amazing, Ryan,” he replied with an annoyed tone.
“What better time to ask the sports guy to come in about five hours earlier than he normally would get up, expose himself to the wind, snow and cold, and tell other people not to do the same,” Woodley ranted. “It’s been a really long show, can I get back to my post?” He then tweeted a clip of the live broadcast with the message: “This is what happens when you ask the sports guy to cover a blizzard for a morning show.” The video has achieved seven million views, although it is unknown if the reporter has received any reprimand – or congratulations – from his bosses. His comments, yes, earned him the name of Internet users’ favorite weather man.
Follow all the international information on Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.