December 23, 2022 winter storm news

By Aya Elamroussi, Derrick Hinds, Travis Caldwell, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell CNN

Updated 1:24 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022
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1:24 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022

We've wrapped up our live storm coverage for the day. You can read more here, or scroll through the updates below for more information.

8:12 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

Traveler sad but not surprised flight home was canceled as storm forces many to spend Christmas alone

From CNN's Sara Smart

A passenger checks flight departures showing cancellations at Laguardia Airport, Friday December 23, in New York.
A passenger checks flight departures showing cancellations at Laguardia Airport, Friday December 23, in New York. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

As thousands of flights have been canceled across the country due to severe winter weather, many Americans are now unable to spend the holidays with their families.

Shane Phillips is one of those who will be spending Christmas alone this year, due to a canceled flight.

Phillips told CNN he was set to fly from Los Angeles to Seattle to visit family, but when he woke up Friday morning his Alaska Airlines flight had been canceled.

It would have been Phillips’ first time back to Washington state since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I would say they’re upset," he said of his family. "But they’re the ones experiencing the crazy weather, so they understand,” he said.

Phillips says he feels mostly disappointment but not a lot of surprise.

“I knew the weather was supposed to be bad, but I was hoping I’d get in before the freezing rain hit,” he said.

Phillips’ family lives about two hours north of Seattle, so if he did make it to the airport, he says he could’ve been stranded.

“They totally shut down transit, so I’m not sure how I would’ve left the airport,” Phillips said.

Other airlines had flights available for Saturday, but Phillips said they were priced at $1,000 one-way, “which is just too much,” he said.

“I still wish I was there,” Phillip said, adding that he will “just have to try and visit another time of year.”

Phillips says he will make the best of spending Christmas alone – as he’s now going to attend a friend’s holiday party he would have missed if he’d made it to Seattle.

7:26 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

At least nine people have died across the United States during severe winter weather

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Kansas City fire department rescue personnel work to recover a minivan that went into Brush Creek in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday, December 22.
Kansas City fire department rescue personnel work to recover a minivan that went into Brush Creek in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday, December 22. (Nick Wagner/The Kansas City Star/AP)

At least nine people have died across the United States as severe winter weather continues to impact millions of Americans.

Here is the latest from officials in each state reporting storm-related deaths:

  • Ohio: Four people have died as a result of weather-related car crashes, according to Gov. Mike DeWine. Ohio State Highway Patrol said multiple people were injured Friday in a series of crashes involving about 50 cars on the Ohio Turnpike.
  • Kentucky: Three people have died in the state. Gov. Andy Beshear announced two deaths Friday morning, saying one person had been "housing insecure" and the other killed in a crash. An additional death was confirmed in Montgomery County due to a vehicle accident.
  • Missouri: One person died after they apparently lost control on icy roads, the Kansas City Police Department said Friday. The vehicle landed upside down in a creek and sunk into the frozen water, officials said.
  • Kansas: One person died in a crash, the Kansas Highway Patrol told CNN on Friday.

CNN's Amanda Musa, Caroll Alvarado, Raja Razek and Rebekah Riess contributed reporting.

6:33 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

Whiteout conditions prompt driving bans and thousands of power outages in New York state

From CNN's Zenebou Sylla

Officials in New York have issued a driving ban for Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans counties due to severe weather.

Misdemeanor tickets for people who disobey the travel ban will be enforced, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. 

Whiteout conditions have blanketed roads and Poloncarz said most tow trucks are unable to go out due to dangerous conditions. 

Two utilities serving Erie County, the National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas, reported a total of about 30,000 power outages there, the county executive said at a 4 p.m. press conference Friday.

“Emergency resources will be deployed, but they’re not going to be deployed in the usual, quick fashion that we’ve become accustomed to,” Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth said.

He added that the county’s 911 system had received 1400 to 1500 calls in a short period of time.

6:10 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

More than 5,000 flights have been canceled nationwide Friday

From CNN's Ross Levitt and Greg Wallace

Air travelers faced a staggering number of flight cancellations Friday as winter weather has now caused more than 5,000 in airports across the US.

Seattle, Chicago O’Hare, New York LaGuardia, Denver and Detroit continue to lead the way in cancellations, according to data from the flight tracking site FlightAware.

At airports in Cleveland, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Michigan, more than 70% of flights have been canceled. The Buffalo airport in New York state was shut down entirely. Portland International Airport had about two-thirds of its flights canceled. And airports in Chicago, Dayton, Seattle and Sioux Falls each have had more than half of their flights canceled.

FlightAware also shows more than 8,400 delayed flights.

5:47 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

At least 1 person dead after crashes involving as many as 50 cars on Ohio Turnpike, officials say

From CNN's Amanda Musa

A multi-vehicle crash is seen on the Ohio Turnpike on December 23.
A multi-vehicle crash is seen on the Ohio Turnpike on December 23. (Courtesy Mike Waldron)

At least one person was killed in a series of crashes on an Ohio highway Friday, a law enforcement official said, and "weather is considered to be a factor."

Multiple people were also hurt in the crashes on the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80), said Sgt. Ryan E. Purpura of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Around 50 vehicles were involved.

The crashes came as a severe winter weather system passes through the state, and Purpura said the inclement conditions are believed to have played a part.

Troopers from Purpura's department are helping people who were involved in the crashes, which occurred in the eastbound lanes between state Route 53 and state Route 4 in the Groton Township of Erie County.

“Buses are being utilized to take people from their vehicles to a local facility so they can stay warm,” Purpura said in a statement to CNN.

The Ohio Turnpike is currently closed in both directions. Authorities are diverting eastbound traffic at exit 91 and diverting westbound traffic at exit 118, Purpura said.

Erie County is halfway between Toledo and Cleveland along Lake Erie.

4:41 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

Tips for staying safe in cold weather

Experts are encouraging those in the winter storm's path to stay safe as freezing temperatures impact road conditions and threaten the health of vulnerable groups. 

American Automobile Association spokesperson Aixa Diaz told CNN's Kristin Fisher on Friday the organization is "very worried" that there will be more car crashes as the storm continues to move east.

She urged drivers in certain impacted areas to "stay off the roads completely."

"If you're in an area where the weather is not supposed to be that bad, still prepare for winter storm conditions anyway," she said.

Should motorists find themselves on the road and in need of assistance, Diaz said there are ways to stay ready, including keeping an emergency preparation kit in the vehicle.

"Make sure you have your cellphone charger in the vehicle so that you have your phone fully charged in case you do have to call for help, in case you do have to call AAA," she said. "We also suggest having an ice scraper in your vehicle, also some reflectors in case you have to wait in your vehicle for a long time."
"The best advice though is just to avoid it altogether. It's not what you want to hear. This is terrible timing for holiday travelers but the reality is: This is a very dangerous storm and this is not just a little bit of snow, white Christmas. This is something serious," she added.

The frigid weather could also impact others who are most vulnerable to cold temperatures, according to CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

She told Fisher that infants and the elderly "don't regulate their body temperatures the way that other folks do." She added that since "cold puts a stress on the heart," those with heart disease should be careful. Cold can also aggravate asthma conditions and other lung diseases, she said.

"Even if your asthma is under control, be aware the cold could make it worse," Cohen said. "You should have your medications at the ready."

She encouraged people to dress infants "more warmly than you would dress yourself," to check in on the elderly, and to avoid alcohol and caffeine, as the beverages "do not help your body deal with the cold."

4:39 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

Migrants in El Paso have trouble finding shelter amid uncommonly cold temperatures

From CNN's Ashley Killough and Ed Lavandera

Migrants warm themselves by a fire next to the US-Mexico border fence on December 22 in El Paso, Texas.
Migrants warm themselves by a fire next to the US-Mexico border fence on December 22 in El Paso, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

As freezing temperatures from a coast-to-coast winter storm arrive in El Paso, Texas, some migrants who haven’t turned themselves in to border agents or officials after crossing the US-Mexico border are having a difficult time finding shelter.

El Paso is in the midst of a declared state of emergency over thousands of migrants living in unsafe conditions, as a former President Donald Trump-era border policy keeping migrants out of the US remains in flux amid court proceedings.

The city has opened government-run shelters at its convention center, hotels and several unused schools, but is unable to accept migrants who don’t have documentation from Customs and Border Protection, said El Paso city spokesperson Laura Cruz Acosta.

The city must follow state and federal policies, which she said require migrants to have documentation in order to receive shelter at government-run facilities.

If undocumented migrants show up at government-run sites, they are connected with Customs and Border Protection to start the process of turning themselves in, or are connected with shelters run by nongovernmental organizations on the ground, she said.

As dangerously cold temperatures arrive this week, US border officials are warning migrants seeking to enter the country of the dire weather.

“Extremely cold, below freezing temperatures are expected along the Mexico and United States border during the next several days,” Hugo Carmona, acting associate chief of US Border Patrol Operations, said in a video statement. “Do not risk your life and that of your loved ones trying to cross the river or the desert. Help avoid human death and tragedy, stay home or remain in a safe shelter. This is a warning of extreme importance.”

Read more here.

4:23 p.m. ET, December 23, 2022

It could be the coldest Christmas Eve on record in Atlanta and Philadelphia, weather service says

From CNN's Taylor Ward

Many locations in the eastern US are in for their coldest Christmas Eve in decades.

Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Tallahassee, are all forecast to have their coldest high temperature ever recorded on Dec. 24, according to the National Weather Service.

Washington, DC, is forecast to see its second-coldest Christmas Eve, only behind 1989. In New York, it will be the coldest Christmas Eve since 1906. 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 Dec. 25 since 1983 for Miami, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach, according to the weather service. 

Temperatures in the East will slowly moderate over the weekend, but it will still be the third-coldest Christmas Day on record for Atlanta and coldest since 1989, according to forecasters. New York and Washington, DC, will each experience their coldest Christmas Day since 2000.