A major winter storm is now slamming the eastern U.S. as around half a million people in Texas are still waiting for power to be restored following days of bitterly cold temperatures.
The extreme weather that has gripped much of the nation this week is being blamed for at least 36 deaths as of midday Thursday, according to The Associated Press, with many of the fatalities being attributed to traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning. In Tennessee, a 9-year-old boy being pulled by his father in a tube behind an ATV was killed when he slammed into a mailbox.
“I’ve declared states of emergency, authorized FEMA to provide generators and supplies, and am ready to fulfill additional requests,” President Bidensaid in a tweet. “Please heed the instructions of local officials and stay safe.”
The National Weather Service says “significant ice accumulations and heavy snowfall are expected” today from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, while severe storms “will remain possible in the Southeast U.S. into Thursday afternoon.”
“Well below normal temperatures will exist throughout the central third of the country into the weekend,” it added.
As snow and icy conditions are blanketing the eastern U.S., many major airports are cautioning that flight delays and cancellations will extend into Friday.
By 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, more than 2,800 flights in, out and across the United States had been canceled, according to FlightAware, which tracks worldwide flight traffic data in real-time. Meanwhile, more than 1,400 flights have been delayed, according to the data.
Power is in the process of being restored to more Texans, with around 500,000 homes and businesses remaining without electricity. But any still are without safe drinking water after winter storms wreaked havoc on the state’s power grid and utilities this week.
The state’s grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the remaining outages are largely weather-related, rather than forced outages that were made early Monday to stabilize the power grid.
“We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin.
Nearly 300,000 homes and businesses also are without power in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as storms dumped as much as 4 inches of snow and ice across the region. In Tennessee, 12 people were rescued from boats after a dock weighed down by snow and ice collapsed on the Cumberland River on Wednesday night, the Nashville Fire Department said.
In Arkansas, Little Rock got 15 inches of snow in back-to-back storms, tying a record for snow depth set in 1918, the weather service said.
Meanwhile, snow is now falling in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, and the National Weather Service predicted up to 8 inches in the New York metropolitan area Thursday and Friday.
The winter storm also has prompted authorities to shutter at least three of New Jersey’s coronavirus vaccination sites. In that state, Gov. Phil Murphy is restricting commercial vehicles on highways and asking people to stay home.
At least 36 deaths have been attributed to the consecutive days of extreme weather.
A half dozen people have died from exposure, including several whose bodies were found along Texas roadways covered in ice and snow, a Kansas woman who wandered outside in her nightgown and a Kentucky woman in an unheated mobile home.
A 75-year-old woman and her three grandchildren were killed in a house fire in Texas while officials believe they were using their fireplace to keep warm during a power outage. Three people died in a tornado in North Carolina. Three more fell through ice, into a pond in Tennessee, a lake in Oklahoma and a swimming pool in Louisiana.
Fox News’ Danielle Genovese and the Associated Press contributed to this report.