Friday, February 3, 2023

Flights are cancelled due to the winter storm, and thousands of people are without power

Winter storm cancels flights, keeps thousands without power

 AUSTIN: On Thursday, much of the southern United States was covered in a mess of ice, snow, and sleet. Thousands of people in Texas were without power due to the freezing temperatures, many of them in Austin, the state capital. However, a warming trend was predicted to provide relief from the deadly storm.

In Texas, hundreds of additional flights were canceled once more, though fewer than in previous days. However, by Friday, an Arctic cold front from Canada is expected to move into the northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Northeast, bringing with it yet another blizzard to the United States. According to the National Weather Service, the front is anticipated to bring snow and wind chills below minus 50 (minus 45 Celsius) to northern New England.

PowerOutage, a website that monitors utility reports, reports that more than 416,000 Texas customers were without power early on Thursday.

The outages were most widespread in Austin, where more than 150,000 customers became increasingly dissatisfied over the course of more than 24 hours following the outage of their heat and electricity. For many, it was the second time in three years that a deep freeze in February resulted in prolonged blackouts and uncertainty regarding when power would be restored.

In contrast to the blackouts that occurred in Texas in 2021, in which hundreds of people perished as the state's grid was brought to the brink of total failure due to a lack of generation, the outages that occurred in Austin this time were primarily caused by frozen equipment and trees falling on power lines. Even though repairs were finished elsewhere, the city utility warned that all power might not be restored until Friday because ice continued to cause new outages.

Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy's general manager, stated, "It feels like two steps forward and three steps back."

As snow, sleet, and freezing rain continued to move through, schools in the Dallas and Austin area, as well as many in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, remained closed on Thursday. A statement from Dallas Area Rapid Transit said that early on Thursday, public transportation in Dallas also experienced "major delays."

In order to keep runways open, airport workers fought ice. More than 500 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport had been canceled by airlines by Thursday morning, accounting for more than a quarter of the day's scheduled flights. Nonetheless, reported that this was a decrease from the approximately 1,300 cancellations on Wednesday and the over 1,000 on Tuesday.

At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Dallas Love Field, dozens more flights were canceled on Thursday.

Winter weather warnings and watches extended from the Mexico-West Texas border through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, western Tennessee, and northern Mississippi. Additionally, New Englanders were warned during a Thursday briefing with the federal Weather Prediction Center that wind chills in the minus 50s "could be the coldest felt in decades"—the effect of wind and cold air on exposed skin.

According to an advisory from the National Weather Service office in Caribou, Maine, the strong winds and the cold air will result in wind chills "rarely seen in northern and eastern Maine."

According to Jay Broccolo, director of weather operations at a Mount Washington observatory in New Hampshire that held the world record for the fastest wind gust for decades, wind speeds could reach 100 mph (160 kph) on Thursday.

Broccolo stated, "We take safety very seriously in the higher summits, and even by our standards, this weekend's forecast looks pretty gnarly."

Since Monday, at least nine people have died as a result of dangerous road conditions, seven of them in Texas and one each in Oklahoma and Arkansas. People were urged not to drive by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

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