Millions of Americans may have dreamed of a snowy Christmas, but surely nothing quite like this.
The devastating winter storm that has covered most of the U.S. with a coating of snow and ice is expected to persist into the coming week, when holiday travelers face more flight cancellations and treacherous roads that make travel miserable.
The number of fatalities continues to grow, with weather-related deaths totaling 34 as of Monday morning.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the treacherous storm is expected to take many more lives following the trapping of many residents in their homes and knocking out of electricity to tens of thousands of businesses and homes.
The extreme weather spanned across the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico.
Around 60 percent of the U.S. population faced some type of winter warning or weather advisory, with temperatures falling drastically below the normal range from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, according to the AP report.
The National Weather Service (NWS) announced on Sunday that the icy arctic atmosphere “enveloping much of the eastern half of the U.S. will be slow to moderate.”
This isn't the news travelers, in particular, were hoping for.
The “bomb cyclone” storm, one of the strongest ever recorded, led to the cancellations of more than 1,500 U.S. flights on Sunday, 3,500 flights on Saturday, and almost 6,000 on Friday, as per monitoring website Flightaware.com.
More than 1,000 U.S. flights had already been canceled just hours into Monday morning, according to the website.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted on Saturday: “The most extreme disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover.”
However, thousands of people were left stranded in airports, including major ones in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York, as the cold merged with the ice and snow.
Saturday brought record-breaking cold daily temperatures in a number of cities across the United States, UPI (United Press International) reported.
In Philadelphia, the high temperature climbed to only 18 degrees, three degrees lower than the prior record, which was 21 degrees, set in 1906 and 1989.
Other daily records broken on the east coast of the United States on Saturday were in Wilmington, Del., with a record high of 18 degrees; Trenton, N.J., with a high of 14, and Allentown, Pa., with its high of 13.
CNN revealed that a number of important cities along the eastern coast had experienced their coldest Christmases in decades and that some cities located in Florida, including Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, logged their coldest December 25 temperatures since 1983.
In the Deep South, record-breaking cold temperatures were felt in Knoxville, Tenn., with a high temperature of 22 degrees. The same was true for Greensboro, N.C., with a high of 26 degrees . The “bomb cyclone” spread its chilling tentacles across the United States, with accompanying blizzards and a plethora of heavy snowfalls in the worst affected regions.
A record-low temperature of 28 degrees was also registered in Columbia, S.C.
In Chicago, the city's high temperature on Saturday was 13.3 degrees, and the low was minus one.