Biden briefed on massive winter storm
President Biden on Thursday was briefed on the major winter storm and cold blast set to impact the majority of the U.S. ahead of Christmas.
“I encourage everyone, everyone to please heed the local warnings. We’ve tried to contact 26 governors so far in affected regions. Go to weather.gov for more information,” Biden said just before the Oval Office briefing. “This is not like a snow day when you were a kid. This is serious stuff.”
Biden also said he would be briefed by National Weather Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.
The White House earlier said the winter storm system traversing the U.S. and its impacts would be discussed.
Biden in the briefing called the storm and extreme cold weather reflected on a map “dangerous“ and “threatening.”
The president urged people who are traveling to leave earlier ahead of the storm, adding that he’s sending his staff home early who planned to travel Thursday night or Friday and telling them to leave now.
The upcoming Christmas weekend is expected to be the coldest in decades in most states.
The Midwest is already experiencing an arctic blast of cold, as well as heavy snow and wind. Millions of people in the Upper Midwest and the Plains have been placed under blizzard and winter weather warnings.
Temperatures across the central High Plains plummeted 50 degrees in a few hours on Thursday and authorities are concerned about power outages and Americans traveling in those conditions.
As of Thursday morning, more than 1,200 U.S.-based flights have been canceled.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday that travel around this Christmas holiday could be riddled with disruptions.
“We had a great Thanksgiving week with minimal disruptions,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s not going to be that way heading into Christmas.”
“We have not just a large portion of the country affected by these winter storms, but that includes some of the key hubs for many of our airlines,” he added.
–Updated at 11:08 a.m.
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