'ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION' STORM At least 17 people died because of an arctic snowstorm that hit the US on Christmas eve.  A state of emergency has been declared in some states.  (Anadolu)

NEW YORK –At least 17 people died while 1.7 million homes and workplaces nationwide were left with no power following an arctic snowstorm that hit the US on Christmas eve, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

The NWS announced that the freezing winds coming from the Arctic, and described as “once-in-a-generation” storm, affected about two-thirds of the country.

It is expected to continue to have a significant impact on the central and eastern parts of the country at the end of the week.

Media reports said at 17 people were killed and many others injured in traffic accidents, while authorities warned that the visibility had dropped to zero due to the snowstorm, with wind gusts reaching up to 115 kilometers (over 71.45 miles) per hour in some areas.

According to the Power Outage website, more than 1.7 million homes and business places across the country remain without electricity, while officials warned that it may take days to restore the supply.

More than 200 million people are expected to be affected by the freezing temperatures in the US.

State of emergency

A state of emergency has been declared in several states, including New York, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Oklahoma, while US President Joe Biden urged citizens to heed the warnings.

The flight tracking website FlightAware reported that more than 8,000 flights were canceled and more than 25,000 flights were delayed ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

‘Once-in-a-generation’ storm

In the US, on Dec. 21, national and local weather reporting agencies had warned of severe cold and snowy weather conditions that could be seen "once in a generation."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had announced that cold weather conditions that have not been experienced in the last 40 years are approaching in some parts of the country.

It was also reported that the storm would be equivalent to the pressure of a category three hurricane in the Great Lakes region of the country on the Canadian border.

Due to the storm, the ground floors of some hospitals and businesses on New Jersey's coastline were submerged by the waters of the overflowing Hudson River, while many vehicles were damaged by the flood.

Coastal areas of Queens and Brooklyn were also damaged by rising ocean waters, while waves brought by high winds left some streets and habitats along the coastline unusable. (Anadolu)