Winter storm and severe cold sweeps across US

By Aya Elamroussi, Derrick Hinds, Travis Caldwell, Maureen Chowdhury, Aditi Sangal and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 4:17 PM ET, Sat December 24, 2022
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12:22 p.m. ET, December 24, 2022

New York's Jefferson County declares state of emergency and travel ban amid blizzard conditions

From CNN’s Celina Tebor and Haley Brink

A field in Watertown, NY during yesterday's snowfall.
A field in Watertown, NY during yesterday's snowfall. (WWNY)

Jefferson County, New York, declared a state of emergency and enacted a travel ban Saturday, the state police announced, as the region faces strong winds and blizzard conditions.

The county is experiencing “life threatening blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service of Buffalo said Saturday, with winds gusting as high as 60 mph.

The city of Watertown saw 14 inches of snow over the past 24 hours, according to the weather service. Very heavy snowfall rates of three to four inches per hour are also possible on Saturday, which could lead to another two to four feet of snow accumulations in the “most persistent bands” across the county, they said.

Wind chills as low as 20 degrees below zero could cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes, the weather service warned.

“Travel will be impossible,” the weather service wrote, adding that widespread blowing snow could reduce visibility to zero.

11:54 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 1,800 flight cancellations nationwide Saturday

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Travelers walk through JFK Airport on Friday.
Travelers walk through JFK Airport on Friday. (Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress/Getty Images)

The extreme winter weather continues to impede holiday travel plans, as there are more than 1,800 flight cancellations nationwide on Saturday morning, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.  

More than 3,300 flights have also been delayed so far on Saturday. 

The following cities were most affected by delays and cancellations into and out of their airports:

  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
11:31 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Duke Energy asks customers in Ohio and Kentucky to voluntarily reduce use of electricity through Christmas Day

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Rebekah Riess

Duke Energy is asking its customers in Ohio and Kentucky to voluntarily reduce usage of all non-essential electricity until 10 a.m. local time Christmas Day, as “power supplies are tight due to extremely cold temperatures and increased energy use."

“This will help PJM [regional electric grid operator] member utilities to continue delivering reliable service during this period of significantly low temperatures across the region,” the power company stated in a news release.

11:03 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 50,000 people across Memphis shut off from power grid at any given time, mayor says

From CNN's Hannah Sarisohn

Rolling blackouts across Memphis, Tennessee, are impacting more than 50,000 people at a time, Mayor Jim Strickland told CNN’s Sara Sidner on Saturday morning. 

Residents are being forced off of the power grid for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, likely two to three times per day, Strickland said. He added that the city is working to reach the most vulnerable individuals, such as those who require power for medical devices. 

“TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) has always prided itself on reliability. This is the first time TVA has required rolling blackouts,” Strickland said. “It’s going to take a deeper dive into the reasons this happened.” 

Strickland said temperatures are not expected to rise above 32 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the next two days. 

The state of emergency in place will help reimburse expenses and bring issues, such as caring for homeless individuals, to the forefront, according to Strickland. Several hundred homeless individuals are being cared for by city-run facilities as well as nonprofits and churches. 

In terms of roadways, Strickland said conditions on major thoroughfares have significantly improved, however people should still only travel if necessary.  

10:54 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Catch up: Here's what you need to know about the winter storm

From CNN staff

A group of people walk through a neighborhood in Flint, Michigan, on Saturday.
A group of people walk through a neighborhood in Flint, Michigan, on Saturday. (Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A severe winter storm continues to unleash treacherous conditions across the country this holiday weekend.

If you're just now catching up, here are some of the storm's latest developments:

Rising death toll: At least 15 people have died across multiple states, including New York, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri.

Power outages: More than 1.7 million customers across the US are still without power as of Saturday morning, according to Poweroutage.Us. Before daylight on Saturday, utility companies were making progress on restoring power, but numbers could grow throughout the day as strong winds are forecast for much of the Midwest and Northeast. In states like North Carolina and Tennessee, residents are told to expect temporary power outages as the weather puts a strain on electricity providers.

Bitterly cold temperatures: More than 100 million people in the US remain under wind chill alerts Saturday morning. Some alerts have begun to expire across portions of the central and eastern regions of the country.

Holiday impacts: The winter storm has upended holiday travel for three consecutive days now, as airlines have canceled more than 9,000 flights in total between Thursday, Friday and advance cancellations on Saturday nationwide. More than 1,600 flights have been canceled so far Saturday across the country. Couriers including Amazon, the US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx are warning customers of disruptions to their operations in the final delivery day before Christmas due to the storm.

10:38 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 100 million people remain under wind chill alerts nationwide Saturday

From CNN's Haley Brink 

Some wind chill alerts have begun to expire across portions of the central and eastern regions of the US, reducing the number of people under these alerts to more than 100 million people.

The alerts still include these cities:

  • Minneapolis
  • Indianapolis
  • Cleveland
  • Nashville
  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte

A vast majority of these remaining alerts will expire by mid-day.

10:49 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Nashville mayor asks Tennessee Titans to postpone game amid rolling outages

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Tennessee Titans huddle during at SoFi Stadium in California on December 18.
Tennessee Titans huddle during at SoFi Stadium in California on December 18. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

John Cooper, the metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County mayor, on Saturday morning issued a tweet calling on the Tennessee Titans NFL team to postpone their noon game “in solidarity with our neighbors,” amid ongoing rolling blackouts by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 

Cooper said the TVA’s unilateral rolling blackouts will continue and asked all non-essential businesses to reduce power usage.

“TVA needs to invest in infrastructure to withstand extreme temps,” the mayor added.

CNN has reached out to the NFL and Tennessee Titans organizations for comment.

10:27 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Snowfall totals top 2 feet in Buffalo so far. Here's a look at other notable snowfall totals across the US

From CNN's Haley Brink 

A total of 27.8 inches (more than two feet) of snowfall has been recorded at Buffalo airport in New York since the snow began Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, much of the southern and eastern shorelines of the Great Lakes remain under blizzard warnings through tomorrow morning due to strong winds and additional lake-effect snow across the region.

The heaviest snowfall is expected east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario through tomorrow where an additional one to two feet of snow is possible. Winds could also gust as high as 65 mph across these regions today. 

“Travel will be impossible in the lake-effect snow band,” the Buffalo weather service office wrote in their blizzard warning. “Areas of blowing snow will produce zero visibility. Very strong winds will cause extensive tree damage and power outages.”

Here are some additional snowfall totals over the last 24 hours, according to the weather service:

  • Mancelona, Michigan: 26.5 inches
  • Sparr, Michigan: 26.0 inches
  • Alba, Michigan: 25.0 inches
  • Gaylord, Michigan: 20.0 inches
  • Kenmore, New York: 18.0 inches
  • Watertown, New York: 14.0 inches
  • Baraga, Michigan: 13.8 inches
11:40 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Electric power company in North Carolina announces "emergency outages" amid extreme cold temperatures

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher, Rebekah Riess and Joe Sutton

Duke Energy, the electric power company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday morning announced “emergency outages” as extremely cold temperature drive unusually high energy demand across the Carolinas.

“We have begun short, temporary power outages. These emergency outages are necessary to protect the energy grid against longer, more widespread outages. We appreciate your patience,” the energy provider said in a tweet.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper spoke with the Duke Energy CEO, according to a statement from his office. 

“This morning I spoke with Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to offer assistance and to express urgency about the need to restore power quickly in this extreme cold while keeping customers accurately informed,” Cooper said in the statement. “I’m grateful for the workers braving the wind and cold to get the power back on."