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At least 17 deaths in multiple states attributed to massive winter storm

Many law enforcement agencies have shared videos of the zero visibility conditions facing drivers


Muri Assunção
New York Daily News

The massive winter storm that continued to bring chaos to most of the country on Christmas Eve has been linked to at least 17 deaths in seven states since Wednesday.

The unprecedented bad weather, which came just in time to wreak havoc on Americans’ holiday travel plans, caused “one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever,” National Weather Service forecasters said.

The storm affected more than half of the U.S. population and exposed much of the country to freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions, with more than 200 million people under a weather advisory or warning.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement Friday night offering his sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones “during this severe weather situation.”

“Thus far, four Ohioans have died and many more may have been injured as a result of weather-related accidents,” DeWine said, adding that “extremely cold temperatures” will continue to envelop the state.

In Kansas City, Mo., the driver of a minivan died Thursday after sliding off into a frozen creek, according to police.

“The Dodge went down the embankment, over the cement retaining wall and landed upside down, submerged in Brush Creek,” authorities said in a statement.

Three other people died on Wednesday in separate crashes in northern Kansas.

In Oklahoma, troopers responded to three deadly crashes on icy roads on Thursday after the storm hit the state, local television station KOCO reported.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters during a news brief Friday that one person had died in a car accident in western Kentucky and one other person, who was experiencing homelessness, died in Louisville.

He later tweeted that “a third fatality [was reported] on our roads.”

In western New York, two people died in a Buffalo suburb after suffering medical emergencies at home. They couldn’t be helped by medical crews because of blizzard-like conditions, officials said.

In Tennessee, the state’s department of health confirmed one storm-related fatality in a report released by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency on Friday.

“Storm warnings, winter weather advisories and high winds warnings blanket much of the upper Midwest, Great Lakes region, Ohio Valley and parts of the Northeast,” the National Weather Service said Saturday.

“Dangerously cold wind chills across much of the central and eastern U.S.” was expected for the holiday weekend, the NWS said. “The life-threatening cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded, individuals that work outside, livestock and domestic pets.”

More than 1.6 million homes and businesses across the U.S. were currently without power on Saturday, according to, which tracks power outages in the country.

The storm severely affected air travel just in time for the holiday rush. Nearly 5,000 flights domestic and international flights were canceled Friday, according to tracking site FlightAware.

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