Tens of millions of Americans are bracing for the coldest Christmas in living memory, with cities in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania expecting record-breaking lows.
At least ten people died this week in vehicle crashes that authorities said were likely related to the storm in Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio and Oklahoma, with a 50-car pile-up in Ohio and 100 crashes reported just north of the Canadian border, near London, Ontario.
One Ontario Provincial Police officer described the corridor as ‘one of the worst traffic scenes’ he’d ever witnessed.
More flights were cancelled on Friday – 5,259, as of 7:30pm – than on any other day of the year, with Seattle airport the worst affected.
Chicago O’Hare, New York’s LaGuardia and Detroit’s airport were also hard-hit.
A family is seen running to their car in Flint, Michigan, on Friday amid blizzard conditions sweeping across huge swathes of the United States into the Christmas weekend
A car is seen in Seattle on Friday having skidded off the road in wintry conditions. Seattle’s airport was the worst-affected nationwide for cancellations
The Weather Prediction Center was forecasting the temperatures would continue to plummet, following dramatic drops in temperature on Friday morning
Elle Magruder, 20, takes a rest while waiting on her delayed flight home to Dallas, at Ontario International Airport in California on Friday
Travelers on Friday are seen heading through Miami airport, as thousands of flights are canceled. Tallahassee in Florida will see its coldest Christmas Eve ever recorded
Passengers are seen at New York City’s JFK airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year – blighted by 5,000 flight cancellations
Hundreds of suitcases are seen at San Francisco International Airport, with bags stuck due to airline cancellations
Millions of people were also left without power on Friday, as the grid was knocked out in cities across the country.
Nashville recorded below-zero temperatures for the first time in 25 years, where thousands were without power for swathes of Friday afternoon.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides power for 10 million people, tweeted guidance on how to save power during the shortages caused by the storms.
‘Today’s been unprecedented, with historic cold temperatures affecting the entire country and driving power demand to record levels in the region,’ they tweeted, recommending putting off tasks that can wait such as laundry, and lowering the thermostat by a degree or two.
Blackouts were reported from Brooklyn to Maine, and down to North Carolina.
The ten deaths since Wednesday include three killed in car crashes in Kansas.
In Kentucky, three people died due to the storm – two in vehicle crashes and the other a homeless person in Louisville, Governor Andy Beshear said.
And in Ohio, four people have died ‘as a result of weather-related auto accidents’ and several others have been injured, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.
Some of the coldest areas remained the midwest, with Wyoming, Colorado and the Dakotas all experiencing intense, life-threatening cold.
A 50-car pile-up was reported in Ohio, causing at least four fatalities. The crashes happened Friday afternoon along Interstate 80 eastbound between Route 53 and State Route 4 in Sandusky County, near Groton Township and the Erie County line
Jack-knifed trucks crunched cars, and vehicles skidded into each other as the chaos unfolded. A pick-up truck can be seen to the left, high in the air
One truck, towards the rear of the photo, can be seen forced up into the air in the pile-up. Cars and SUVs were crunched by trucks
The crash was reported on Ohio Turnpike 106 on Friday, amid blizzard conditions. Buses took people from the scene to a local facility to stay warm
The roof of a building in Lincoln, New Hampshire was sheered off on Friday morning. The roof covered a swimming pool at a Travelodge
Rubble from the shredded roof can be seen lying across the parking lot on Friday, after strong winds battered the building
In Oklahoma, a woman took a photo of water freezing straight from her tap in McAlester, 100 miles east of Oklahoma City
In McAlester, Oklahoma, water froze as soon as it came from the tap.
Angela Smith, who filmed the footage, said it was inside a building where she normally trained dogs.
In Montana, the temperature dropped so rapidly on December 21 that the thermometer could not keep up and stopped working.
Christmas will cap a week of intense cold in the state: on December 21, Elk Park, north of Butte, recorded 50 below freezing; Lincoln 49 below; Potomac 49 below; and Polebridge 46 below.
In Bozeman, a new daily record of 44-below was recorded early Thursday morning, just two degrees warmer than the city’s all-time cold weather record.
In New Hampshire, the roof of a Travelodge by Wyndham hotel swimming pool was blown off and crashed into a car on Friday morning. No one was injured.
New York City saw high winds, and flooding in some areas. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens were experiencing blackouts.
Near Rockaway Beach, chunks of a dead sperm whale that washed up on the shore were driven onto the streets.
Lake Erie is seen with frozen trees and massive waves as the storm buffeted large parts of Ohio and upstate New York
Vehicles involved in multiple collisions are seen along the HWY 401 and HWY 402 corridor near London, Ontario
Fragments of vehicles are seen along the highway in London, Ontario on Friday. Canadian police were warning people to avoid traveling if at all possible
One local police officer in Canada said the traveling conditions were the worst he had ever experienced, with multiple crashes reported
‘In one of those ‘Only in Rockaway’ scenarios, it appears parts of the sperm whale that was necropsied last week, is now on Rockaway Beach Blvd and Beach 116th Street,’ tweeted one local.
‘Can’t make this up.’
The 32-foot female whale washed up on December 13 and surfers and local authorities tried to return her to the ocean, but she died before she reached the open water.
Her carcass was chopped up for transportation, but slabs of whale meat were blown onto the streets on Friday by the wind and waves.
Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York had reports of 37-ft waves, and the banks were pure ice and frozen snow.
Particularly hard-hit was Buffalo, New York, where weatherman Dan Russell shared terrifying footage of the blizzard.
‘Conditions in downtown #Buffalo,’ he said.
‘I’ve covered many winter weather storms through the years. This is about, if not the worst I’ve ever seen!
‘A true #Blizzard with no letting up anytime soon.’
Winds as high as 70 miles per hour are expected at times on Saturday, and areas of blowing snow will produce zero visibility, according to forecasters.
There were 96,000 electric customers without power across New York State on Friday evening, according to PowerOutage.us.
New York City will experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1906, and Washington DC the second-coldest ever, only beaten by 1989.
Chicago is expecting temperatures to rebound above zero, but the city will still experience its coldest Christmas Eve since 1983.
Many parts of Florida will experience the peak of their cold on Christmas Day.
It will be the coldest December 25 since 1983 for Miami, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach, according to the weather service.
Tallahassee will have its coldest Christmas Eve ever, as will Atlanta, Georgia, and in Pennsylvania the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburg.
The temperatures will begin to rise early next week, but New York and Washington, DC, will each experience their coldest Christmas Day since 2000.