Many residents of the Midwest are facing the possibility of spending Christmas in the dark. Over the weekend, parts of Michigan and New England were hit with a major ice storm. Between New York, New England, and Michigan, almost 400,000 homes and businesses were without power on Monday after ice had brought down power lines. Power was restored to many homes in Upstate New York and Vermont, but utility companies in Maine and Michigan reported larger numbers of outages that still had to be taken care of. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids reported that many people still may be using candlelight into Thursday.
The Red Cross has been very helpful for residents in Michigan, they are setting up shelters in towns like Middleville, but the crowd was getting too big and needed additional accommodations, so they needed to move to a local school. More than 1,000 utility workers from other companies headed to Michigan to help Consumers Energy Customers out of the dark. They reported that still, 200,000 remained without power, and many areas in Michigan would not have their electricity restored until after the holidays. Michigan alone was hit with half an inch of ice over the weekend. A half of an inch is damaging enough to take down trees and power lines, which it did.
Heavy accumulations of snow buried parts of the Northern Midwest, with Kansas seeing the most of the snowfall. Flights on Monday were less affected, but over 300 cancellations and 6,000 occurred over the weekend, making holiday travel difficult. This storm cell occurred for nine deaths in the U.S, which included five deaths in Kentucky due to flood waters. One woman in Arkansas lost her life due to a 130-mph tornado. New York City and Philadelphia saw record high temperatures, shoppers were dressed in short sleeve shirts on Monday. Luckily for many travelers, the brunt of the storm was on Monday, and safe travels lie ahead.
For anyone traveling towards the Northeast, it would be better to leave on Tuesday rather than earlier. Temperatures in Massachusetts are around freezing, and the state could expect some freezing rain throughout the day. A white Christmas is forecast for much of the Midwest and in upstate New York, as well as New England. According to Nick Wiltgen, meteorologist with the Weather Channel, areas that don’t have snow on the ground now will not likely pick anything up over the next few days.