Governors declare ‘energy emergency’ in anticipation of arctic storm across US and canada

The governors of New York state, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, and Oklahoma have declared state of emergency in anticipation of the arctic storm across the US and Canada. Wisconsin has also declared an “energy emergency”.

Kathy Hochul, New York state governor, said flooding and ice jams – when large pieces of ice block the flow of a river and cause flooding, are going to wreak a lot of havoc in the community. She asked residents to avoid any non-essential travel.

The US government weather forecasting agency has described the extreme cold weather as a once-in-a-generation event, with among the most weather warnings ever issued.

The low temperatures are caused by an immense winter storm from the Arctic, the National Weather Service says. This powerful storm has caused temperatures to plummet by 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a short time, in many areas of the country. And a low-pressure system along the Arctic front in the Midwest/Great Lakes region will result in heavy snow, it says.

Several places could see the lowest temperatures on record, as well as dangerous levels of wind chill, the NWS says.

The cold weather will bring significant danger, experts have warned. The low temperatures could lead to frostbite on bare skin in just five to ten minutes, the National Weather Service said.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday, “That is not like a snow day, this is serious stuff”.

The storm is already causing havoc on roads – in Wyoming, the Highway Patrol recorded 104 crashes and 787 calls for help in just 12 hours.

More than 135 million people from coast to coast are affected by weather alerts, as the powerful Arctic, winter storm is set to bring temperatures as low as -70F (-57C) in some areas. Thousands of flights have been canceled, ahead of the busiest travel days of the year.

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