Election campaigns and NFL games disrupted as freezing rain and heavy snow hit US

US

Extreme winter weather is causing major disruption in the US as a continuing wave of Arctic storms hit flights, NFL playoff games and election campaigns.

Dangerously cold wind, freezing rain and heavy snow are predicted for much of the country this weekend with temperatures threatening to drop to record lows in the midwest.

Governors from New York to Louisiana warned residents to be prepared for bad weather as parts of Montana fell below -34C on Saturday morning, while the National Weather Service said lows of -46C are possible in the Dakotas.

“We’ve had, now, multiple back-to-back storms,” said weather service meteorologist Zach Taylor.

At least two deaths have been linked to the cold weather, including a man whose truck went through the ice on a Minnesota lake and a skier caught in an avalanche in Idaho.

More than 1,100 internal and international flights were cancelled on Saturday, while there were more than 3,500 delays, according to FlightAware.

Republican contenders Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and former president Donald Trump all cancelled campaign events because of the winter storm.

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A sign supporting Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in Iowa Pic: AP
Image:
Republican presidential campaign events have been cancelled. Pic: AP

The NFL playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed until Monday because of dangerous weather conditions, New York governor Kathy Hochul said.

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Miami Dolphins in what is expected to be one of the coldest NFL playoff games in history, with the temperature at kick-off a predicted -18C and the wind making it feel like -31C.

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Some fans donned ski goggles, heated socks and other winter gear ahead of the game.

Chiefs season ticket holder Keaton said he and his family and friends considered selling their tickets, adding: “But we decided that it’s all part of the experience, and we didn’t want to miss it.”

There were power cuts in hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country, mainly in Michigan, Oregon and Wisconsin, according to poweroutage.

In Iowa, some cars were stuck for five hours in blizzards after trucks blocked traffic on Interstate 80, leaving 100 vehicles trapped, while state troopers dealt with 86 crashes and 535 calls for assistance from drivers since Friday.

State Patrol sergeant Alex Dinkla said road crews were “working the snow-blowers like crazy,” but high winds were blowing snow straight back onto roadways.

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