4,300 flights canceled and these states have major power outages

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Winter storm Elliott could bring record low temperatures over the weekend, resulting in additional flight cancellations and power outages, according to the National Weather Service, as more than 4,300 flights in the United States were canceled and 5,200 more were delayed on Friday.

Key facts

As of 1:30 p.m. Friday, 4,352 US-based flights have been canceled while 5,215 have been delayed, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has experienced the most cancellations so far, with 69% of flights canceled today, while other Midwest airports, such as Chicago Midway International (58%) and Detroit Metro (42%), continue to cancel flights.

The National Weather Service has issued hard freeze warnings for northern Louisiana, central Mississippi, central Alabama, northern Florida and southwest Georgia, while other states, including South Carolina and North Carolina, have received wind chill advisories.

More than 1.5 million people are without power in the U.S. and Canada as of 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to Poweroutage, as North Carolina (176,569) has the most customers with power outages, followed by Virginia (149,524), Tennessee (124,153), Maine (119,412) and New York (100,346).

Heavy snow is expected in parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and is expected to move northeastward this weekend, the service said, as “significant” freezing rain is expected in the Pacific Northwest.

Big number

181 million. That’s the number of U.S. residents living under wind chill warnings or advisories, the National Weather Service said. Another 11 million have been issued for blizzard warnings, 58 million for winter storm warnings and 500,000 for ice storm warnings.

What to look for

Meteorologists have projected wind gusts up to 55 mph in Chicago Friday, while areas from Kansas City to Michigan could be hit by a bomb cyclone — a rapidly intensifying storm — resulting in heavy rain and low visibility. Heavy rain and wind are expected to hit parts of New England and New York, followed by freezing temperatures and icy roads. The Weather Channel expects the Great Lakes states to receive as much as a foot of snow.

Key background

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (R) was one of several state governors to issue a state of emergency earlier this week, predicting “extremely low temperatures” and possible power outages. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) warned that the storm “is going to be really dangerous” while urging residents to “stay inside and pull down, hopefully with your family, for the Christmas holiday.” The National Weather Service suggests the storm, which will “continue to sweep across the eastern third of the country” today, will begin to taper off early next week.

Further reading

Winter Storm Elliott: Nearly 2,000 US Flights Canceled as Mega Storm Disrupts Holiday Travel (Forbes)

Winter Storm Elliott: What to know about travel warnings, the bomb cyclone and how to change your plane ticket (Forbes)

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