A massive winter storm pummeled much of the U.S. on Saturday with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall on Christmas Eve, resulting in nearly two dozen deaths and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
Here’s what to know about the powerful Arctic front:
At least 23 deaths have been attributed to the storm
At least 23 people have died in the storm as of Saturday evening, due to dangerous driving conditions, delayed emergency services and exposure to the freezing weather, according to NBC News.
Four people were killed in a 46-car pileup in Ohio on Friday, in addition to five others who died in separate crashes in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri earlier in the week.
Three people have also died in Erie County, N.Y., where blizzard conditions prevented emergency services from reaching two of the individuals in time to provide medical care.
Two more people died from environmental exposure in Denver, while a man in Colorado Springs, Colo., reportedly died while trying to escape the sub-zero temperatures.
Hundreds of thousands in North Carolina lose power
Nearly 340,000 people in the Carolinas lost power on Saturday amid rolling blackouts, The Washington Post reported.
“Due to the extreme cold temperatures and subsequent demand for power around much of the nation, electricity supplies are very tight,” Duke Energy, which serves customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, said in a press release.
As of Saturday night, the energy company had restored power to most North Carolinians, with only about 14,000 remaining without power.
Hochul deploys National Guard to hard-hit Buffalo
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) deployed the National Guard to Erie County on Friday night, as the Buffalo region continued to face blizzard conditions.
“This may turn out to be the worst storm in our community’s history,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Saturday, per The New York Times.
Buffalo remained under a blizzard warning as of Saturday night, with emergency workers still working to rescue stranded motorists, the Times reported.
Flight cancellations strand travelers on Christmas Eve
More than 3,300 flights were cancelled on Christmas Eve, according to the commercial flight tracker FlightAware.
While the cancellations left thousands more travelers stranded on the holiday weekend, Saturday represented an improvement over the day before. On Friday, more than 20 percent of flights — nearly 6,000 — were cancelled, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“Impacts continue today but FAA expects that the most extreme disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover,” Buttigieg said on Twitter.