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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9:42 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 1.7 million customers remain without power 

From CNN's Joe Sutton

More than 1.7 million customers across the United States are still without power amid the winter weather and frigid temperatures.

At least 1,757,913 customers are in the dark as of 9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, according to PowerOutage.US.

Here's a breakdown in terms of national regions:

  • Southeast: 708,876
  • New England: 384,566
  • South: 383,454
  • Mid-Atlantic: 228,440
  • Great Lakes: 27,653
  • Pacific: 14,811
  • Territories: 8,361
  • Midwest: 1,523
  • Mountain: 229
9:51 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Migrants in El Paso have trouble finding shelter amid uncommonly cold temperatures

From CNN's Ashley Killough and Ed Lavandera

Migrants warm themselves by a fire next to the US-Mexico border fence on December 22 in El Paso, Texas.
Migrants warm themselves by a fire next to the US-Mexico border fence on December 22 in El Paso, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

As freezing temperatures from a coast-to-coast winter storm arrive in El Paso, Texas, some migrants who haven’t turned themselves in to border agents or officials after crossing the US-Mexico border are having a difficult time finding shelter.

El Paso is in the midst of a declared state of emergency over thousands of migrants living in unsafe conditions, as a former President Donald Trump-era border policy keeping migrants out of the US remains in flux amid court proceedings.

The city has opened government-run shelters at its convention center, hotels and several unused schools, but is unable to accept migrants who don’t have documentation from Customs and Border Protection, said El Paso city spokesperson Laura Cruz Acosta.

The city must follow state and federal policies, which she said require migrants to have documentation in order to receive shelter at government-run facilities.

If undocumented migrants show up at government-run sites, they are connected with Customs and Border Protection to start the process of turning themselves in, or are connected with shelters run by nongovernmental organizations on the ground, she said.

As dangerously cold temperatures arrive this week, US border officials are warning migrants seeking to enter the country of the dire weather.

“Extremely cold, below freezing temperatures are expected along the Mexico and United States border during the next several days,” Hugo Carmona, acting associate chief of US Border Patrol Operations, said in a video statement. “Do not risk your life and that of your loved ones trying to cross the river or the desert. Help avoid human death and tragedy, stay home or remain in a safe shelter. This is a warning of extreme importance.”

Read more here and watch how migrants are coping with below freezing temperatures, in the video below:

9:52 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Tips to stay safe indoors and outdoors when extreme cold strikes

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A person crosses a street in Chicago on Thursday.
A person crosses a street in Chicago on Thursday. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Getty Images)

If you are in the path of the winter storm, here are some tips for staying safe indoors and outdoors as temperatures drop.

Tips to stay safe indoors When staying indoors during cold temperatures or the winter storm, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips:

  • Make sure any infants younger than 1 year old are not sleeping in cold rooms and have adequate warm clothing, such as footed pajamas, one-piece wearable blankets or sleep sacks. Remove any pillows or other soft bedding from a baby’s crib, since they pose the risk of smothering or sudden infant death syndrome.
  • If you have friends or neighbors older than 65, check on them frequently to ensure that their homes are adequately heated.
  • Leave water taps slightly open to prevent freezing pipes.
  • Eat well-balanced meals to stay warm.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, because they can cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.

“Never using generators, gas or charcoal grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside your home, in basements, in garages, or near windows,” the CDC says. “The fumes are deadly.”

Using the stove for heat is not safe, the CDC warns; instead, use extra blankets, sleeping bags or coats. A well-maintained fireplace or a portable space heater may be a safe alternative.

Tips to stay safe outdoors When venturing outdoors, the CDC and National Weather Service have some recommendations:

  • Dress warmly with hats, scarves and mittens and by wearing layers.
  • Avoid walking on ice and avoid getting wet.
  • If you have to shovel snow or do other outdoor work, take your time and work slowly. If you have older neighbors, offer to help shovel their walkways or driveways.
  • Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads if possible.
  • If you are stranded outdoors, it is safest to stay in your vehicle.
  • Try to keep pets indoors during cold weather, but if they go outside, thoroughly wipe their legs and underbelly free of snow when returning indoors. Never let your dog off leash on snow or ice.
9:08 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Here’s what you can expect this Christmas Eve as severe cold weather continues to impact the US

From CNN's Aya Elamroussi

More than 1.6 million homes and businesses nationwide were without power on the morning of Christmas Eve, thanks to an Arctic blast and winter storm that tore down power lines with destructive winds and heavy snow and dipped temperatures dangerously low – conditions killing at least 15 people.

As bone-chilling air continues to grip the US this holiday weekend, the unrelenting storm is pummeling the Midwest and parts of the East with heavy snow, blizzard conditions and even flooding along the Northeast coast. No letup is in sight until the end of Christmas Day.

At least 15 people have died since Wednesday across four states, a result of how dangerous and life-threatening conditions have been this week over a large swath of the country.

Here’s what else you can expect this Christmas Eve:

  • The cold is coming for many: More than 175 million people are under wind chill alerts from across much of the central and eastern US. “The life-threatening Cold Temperatures and Dangerous wind chills will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded,” the National Weather Service said.
  • Record temps in the South: Atlanta and Tallahassee, Florida, are forecast to have their coldest high temperature ever recorded on Dec. 24, according to the weather service.
  • Brutal cold elsewhere: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will also see their coldest day Christmas Eve ever on Saturday. Washington, DC, could see its second-coldest on Christmas Eve, the first being in 1989. New York is set to experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906. Chicago is expecting temperatures to rebound above zero but will still experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1983.
  • Flooding threats persist: Both coastal and inland flooding risks are in store for the Northeast from heavy rain falling onto a melting snowpack. Moderate to isolated major coastal flooding is possible due to strong onshore winds.

CNN’s Britley Ritz, Amanda Watts, Tina Burnside, Ray Sanchez, Eric Levenson, Taylor Ward and Nicki Brown contributed reporting to this post.

12:54 p.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 1,600 flight cancellations nationwide so far on Saturday

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Luggage is seen at San Francisco International Airport due to airline cancellations on Friday.
Luggage is seen at San Francisco International Airport due to airline cancellations on Friday. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The extreme winter weather continues to impede holiday travel plans, as there are more than 1,600 flight cancellations nationwide on Saturday morning, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.

More than 1,800 flights have also been delayed so far on Saturday.

These airports have been the most affected:

  • Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
8:45 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

At least 15 people have died across the US during extreme winter weather

From CNN's Joe Sutton


Vehicles move along a highway in Louisville, Kentucky, under freezing temperatures on Friday.
Vehicles move along a highway in Louisville, Kentucky, under freezing temperatures on Friday. (Leandro Lozada/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 15 people have died across the United States as the extreme winter weather continues to impact millions of Americans.

Here's a look at details on the deaths:

  • NEW YORK: Two people died Friday night in Erie County, in separate incidents, when emergency medical personnel could not get to their homes in time for medical emergencies, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Saturday morning during a news conference.
  • WISCONSIN: Wisconsin State Patrol on Thursday reported one fatal crash due to winter weather.
  • TENNESSEE: The Tennessee Department of Health on Friday confirmed one storm-related fatality.
  • OHIO: Four people have died, according to Gov. Mike DeWine “as a result of weather-related auto accidents.”
  • KENTUCKY: Three people have died in the state. Gov. Andy Beshear announced two deaths Friday morning. An additional death was confirmed in Montgomery County due to a vehicle accident.
  • KANSAS: Three people have died in weather-related traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol told CNN on Friday.
  • MISSOURI: One person died after their caravan slid off the icy road and into a frozen creek, first responders in Kansas City Police Department said.

CNN's Amanda Musa, Caroll Alvarado, Tina Burnside, Raja Razek and Rebekah Riess contributed reporting.

8:19 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 1.6 million homes and businesses are without power. Here's a look at the impacted areas. 

The number of power outages in the US rose dramatically in the last few hours.

More than 1.6 million utility customers were without power as of about 7:50 a.m. ET, according to utility tracker That's up from 840,000 customers at 4 a.m. ET.

The outages at 7:50 a.m. ET included:

  • 595,400 in Southeastern states including North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida
  • 392,300 in New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island)
  • 381,000 in other southern states including Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
  • 222,000 in mid-Atlantic and northeastern states including New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware.
  • More than 40,000 outages in other parts of the country.

Strong winds with gusts of 30-50 mph are forecast for much of the Midwest and Northeast Saturday, which could lead to additional outages.

The loss of power comes as many states are experiencing subzero temperatures, and hazardous road conditions make it difficult for crews to respond quickly.

7:35 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

Tennessee residents told to expect intermittent power interruptions today

From CNN's Rebekah Riess and Jason Hanna

Tennessee residents will see intermittent power interruptions Saturday because the frigid weather is putting a strain on the capacity of the state's federally owned electricity provider, utilities in the state said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides power to more than 150 utilities throughout the state and parts of six surrounding states, told the utilities they must intermittently interrupt electricity service to customers, the utilities said.

The Nashville Electric Service told customers Saturday morning to expect “rotating, intermittent power outages” in about 10-minute increments every 90 minutes to two hours. CDE Lightband, a power company in Clarksville, Tennessee, said power would be interrupted in 15-minute intervals.

Customers should conserve as much energy as possible, CDE Lightband said. The rolling outages are expected to last until the power load is stabilized, the Nashville Electric Service said.

6:00 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

More than 175 million people nationwide remain under wind chill alerts Saturday morning

From CNN's Haley Brink

Pedestrians cross a bridge over the Chicago River in downtown as temperatures hover in the negative single-digits on December 23, in Chicago, Illinois.
Pedestrians cross a bridge over the Chicago River in downtown as temperatures hover in the negative single-digits on December 23, in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

More than 175 million people in the US remain under wind chill alerts Saturday morning, which include both wind chill warnings and advisories.

The wind chill alerts extend from Montana down to Florida, including metro areas such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston and Washington, DC.

The coldest wind chills Saturday morning remain across the Midwest, where temperatures are feeling like minus 20 to minus 30 degrees. Places as far south as Atlanta are experiencing negative wind chills early Saturday.

While wind chill alerts will remain for some areas Christmas morning, they are not expected to be as widespread as Saturday and have been this week. Temperatures are forecast to start rebounding for most areas Sunday through much of next week.