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Over 300,000 homes without power as US hit with extreme weather

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man tosses debris into a pile as he cleans up damage caused by tornadoes that hit in Norman, Oklahama. (Photo by Reuters)

Millions of people in the United States are bracing for more tornadoes and heavy snow after a weekend of wild winter weather left over 304,000 homes and businesses without power.

“A busy weather pattern is expected to continue through midweek with impacts throughout many different regions of the country,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a bulletin on Monday.

Some parts of California are expected to see several feet of snow in the coming days, with winds of up to 60mph, the NWS said.

Over the weekend, strong winds uprooted trees and power lines, leaving thousands of people without heat in the state as temperatures dropped.

“Severe thunderstorms capable of producing a few tornadoes and damaging gusts remain possible,” the NWS Storm Prediction Center warned on Monday.

A report by CNN said people on the West Coast and in the Northeast were the worst affected, dealing with heavy snowfall, strong winds, power outages and dangerous road conditions.

The report warned the storm will spread further into northern New England on Tuesday as cold air intensifies over the region and 4-8 inches of snowfall, according to the NWS.

New York governor Kathy Hochul was quoted as telling residents to prepare for hazardous travel conditions as the state faces freezing rain, snowfall rates of at least 1 inch per hour and wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

In Rhode Island, all schools were reportedly closed Tuesday. Connecticut also announced closures of schools in some cities and all state office buildings as the state braced for a significant snowstorm.

In Michigan, over 196,000 homes and businesses were still without power on Monday evening after a major ice storm damaged essential infrastructure in the state last week.

That drew condemnation from public officials who blamed energy companies for the dangerous infrastructure breakdown and sought credit for customers who have been without power during the storms.

“While this ice storm appears to have been one of the worst we have seen in many years, winter weather is an expected occurrence in Michigan. Residents deserve a grid they can rely on,” the state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, said in a written statement on Monday.

“Despite asking for record increases time and time again, our utilities have failed to adequately invest in their own infrastructure or prepare for these storm events, choosing instead to leave ratepayers in the dark."

Nassel admitted that their current service quality standards were not sufficient, saying it is "incumbent on the utilities to right this wrong."


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