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Storms across the U.S. cause deaths and power outages

A crew of inmate firefighters walk back to their vehicle after shoveling and clearing snow, while people carry bags of food on Friday. A series of winter storms in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California left residents stranded due to the snowfall.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
A crew of inmate firefighters walk back to their vehicle after shoveling and clearing snow, while people carry bags of food on Friday. A series of winter storms in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California left residents stranded due to the snowfall.

Updated March 4, 2023 at 6:07 PM ET

Large swaths of the U.S. have faced an intense winter storm over the past several days, with more than 850,000 customers without power as of Saturday evening. Officials issued weather advisories and states of emergency across the country as the large storm system made its way through the U.S., with heavy winds, flooding and snow.

Heavy winds and possible tornadoes damaged homes and buildings, killing at least 12 people across the South and Midwest. The storm then moved Northeast, where the threat of heavy snow and coastal flooding prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning.

Still, by the end of the weekend, the eastern half of the country will see unseasonably warm temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

Some 400,000 customers across the South were without power on Saturday evening. In Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, falling trees or branches killed six people. In Arkansas, one man drowned after driving into floodwaters.

In Kentucky, dangerous wind gusts, flash flooding and possible tornadoes prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency Friday. There were five weather-related deaths in the state, and a semi truck blew off the highway.

Announcing the fifth death on Twitter, Gov. Andy Beshear asked Kentucky residents to remain alert due to "downed power lines and localized flooding."

The storm moved into Michigan on Friday afternoon, blanketing the state in snow, causing more than a 100,000 customers to lose power and forcing the Detroit Metropolitan Airport to close temporarily. Last week, an ice storm left 800,000 homes and businesses without power.

Other areas of the Midwest can expect freezing fog and low visibility this weekend, and highways could get heavy snow paired with wind gusts.

Several Maine counties plus parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire saw more than a foot of snow Saturday, forcing hundreds of business closures and canceled flights.

In the West, where the storm hit earlier in the week, some mountain residents in Southern California could be stuck in their homes for another week following a rare blizzard in the area that closed all of the highways leading up the mountains. Yosemite National Park got up to 15 feet of snow and was forced to close indefinitely.

The West is still blanketed under snow from earlier this week, and another storm system has brought heavy snow over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and parts of the Upper Great Lakes. It'll also bring heavy rains along the coast of the Pacific Northwest and California through Sunday evening before moving into the Rockies and toward the Great Lakes.

The National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warnings because as the storm moves onto the Plains, strong winds and low humidity could cause fires.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kaitlyn Radde