The deadly winter storm that has killed at least 28 people and caused travel chaos across the U.S. will create a “potentially life-threatening hazard” for those on the move or working outside on Christmas Day, forecasters warned Sunday.
“In some areas, being outdoors could lead to frostbite in minutes,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin.
“If you must travel or be out in the elements, prepare for extreme cold by dressing in layers, covering as much exposed areas of skin as possible and pack winter safety kits in your vehicles,” it said.
Stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the Mexican border, the storm swept across the U.S. in recent days, leaving at least 28 people dead, according to an NBC News tally. Fatalities were recorded in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New York, among other states.
Four people died Saturday in a three-vehicle crash on an interstate highway in Ohio and at least three people died in the Buffalo area, including two who suffered medical emergencies in their homes and could not be saved because emergency crews were unable to reach them amid historic blizzard conditions.
Forecasters said 28 inches of snow had accumulated in the city as of Saturday. Last month, areas just south of the city saw a record six feet of snow from a single storm.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday almost every fire truck in the city was stranded in the snow, and she asked residents to “bundle up, stay indoors and stay safe this weekend.”
The city’s international airport was also shut down.
Blinding blizzards, freezing rain and frigid cold also knocked out power in places from Maine to Seattle, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power and millions of people on edge about the possibility of blackouts.
The start of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans’ game in Nashville was delayed an hour by a planned power outage.
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