104 Million People Feeling the Pain of a Treacherous Winter Storm

Major highways are shut down, people stranded at airports, schools closed and power is lost.
3:00 | 02/05/14

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Transcript for 104 Million People Feeling the Pain of a Treacherous Winter Storm
Now, we move on here to the newest round of wicked weather. 104 million people in a duel with nature. Stuck at airports again. Power lines down across two-thirds of this nation. Drivers trying to make the trip home on snow and ice. Our extreme weather team on the story, again, tonight. ABC's gio Benitez starting us off. Reporter: Yet another winter blast. This one bringing heavy, wet snow and ice. Especially hard-hit, the Philadelphia area. More than 500,000 people here will spend the night in the dark. Have you even thought about the idea of being without power for as long as a week? We're trying not to. Reporter: Ice has forced power lines and trees to come crashing down. Watch as this one causes a nearby van to catch fire. A power line 300 feet long, covered in 2 inches of ice, gets more than 2,200 pounds heavier. That's more than enough to snap a power line. Hundreds of thousands now left in the dark. Now, you're getting ready to go to your neighbor's house because they have power. Across the street. Reporter: Getting the power back for a city is a painstaking and unpredictable process. Power lines down on roads are one of the biggest threats to public safety. A first priority. Alongside hospitals and fire departments. Crews work to restore power to generators, then, transmission lines, substations, and finally individual lines to homes. The icy snow snarling air travel, too. More than 3,000 cancellations. And more than 7,500 delays at airports nationwide. On the roads in Boston, snow, bringing the downtown to a crawl. I've had enough. Please, no more snow. Reporter: Plows in Indiana, trying to clear those highways. And in New York state, a major interchange simply shut down. Just a few tips when driving in those dangerous, icy conditions. Make sure you're not using the cruise control option because you want to be in control of your car. And when you're looking at your exhaust pipe, make sure it's clear. Make sure there's no ice or snowpacked in. And perhaps most obvious, just drive slowly. Even if you weren't driving, you have problems. Just look at the crowds that formed after some of New York's subway lines stalled. Back in the Philadelphia area, officials are telling us, it could take as long as a week for some to get power back. Temperatures will be below freezing for days. And another storm could hit Sunday night. And it's not just the power lines. You see this tree right here? Well, a large branch broke off and fell on a man who was just trying to help his neighbor. And tonight, Diane, that man is in critical condition. All right, gio. Thank you. And another rough night ahead for so many people. Now, I want to bring in ABC's meteorologist, ginger zee. A lot of people are asking, is this the worst winter ever, one storm after another. Ginger? Diane, you've come to the right place. I'll show you why it's happened. The jet stream acts as a conveyor belt. All of the cold air we know has been in place and it's storm, after storm. On the heels of each other. But how we remember it may be different. And in some places, generationally, look at this picture from west Michigan. Remember that snowdrift, almost over the school. And from earlier this month in Atlanta, the frozen fountains. So, do the Numbers stack up as much as our memory does? Yes. In Chicago, certainly. Last year, it was only eight inches or so at this point. 20-some is about average. And this year, close to 60 already in Chicago. Now, that does put them already in their top-ten seasons ever snowfall-wise. But to get to number one, they'd have to get to 90. Don't know that we could do that or want to. 43 days until spring. Diane? Thank you so much, ginger. The weather news tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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