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Savage US blizzard leaves 26 dead, power outages, travel snarls

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A relentless winter storm left millions of Americans in peril and misery on Sunday as heavy snow and frigid cold hit parts of the eastern United States, driving weather-related deaths to at least 26. brought

A critical situation was unfolding in Buffalo, New York State. A snowstorm left the city behind, preventing emergency services from reaching the hard-hit areas.

The Buffalo storm is a “crisis of epic proportions” and “the worst of the worst,” said Gov. Cathy Hochul of Buffalo, N.Y. Subzero temperatures have created life-threatening conditions.

More than 200,000 people in several eastern states were awakened by power outages on Christmas morning, and many more had their vacation plans ruined.

Extreme weather pushed temperatures to below freezing in all 48 states of the continental United States over the weekend, causing vacationers to cancel thousands of flights and residents to be trapped in homes covered in ice and snow.

READ ALSO | 18 Dead as Massive Storm Brings Rain, Snow and Cold Across Nation

Twenty-six weather-related deaths have been confirmed in eight states, and some US media have reported as many as 30 total storm-related deaths, with four in Colorado and at least in western New York. Seven people may have died.

While large parts of the country have begun to emerge from major storms and temperatures are returning to seasonal normals in some areas, Buffalo is still being hit by a “catastrophic disaster,” a senior official said Sunday. told to

“There are seven confirmed deaths at this time as a result of the Erie County storm, and there are likely many more,” county administrator Mark Polonkers told reporters.

Read also | Deadly winter blizzard plunges US into pre-Christmas frigid conditions

He described hours of whiteouts and the ferocious conditions in which bodies were found in cars and under snowbanks, as paramedics searched for more bodies and trapped drivers looking for “vehicles.” to the car.

The city’s international airport remains closed until Tuesday.

Governor Hochul sent about 200 National Guard soldiers to assist with rescue efforts in and around Buffalo.

“It’s extreme, dangerous and deadly,” she told CNN, noting that even National Guard units were trapped and in need of rescue.

The National Weather Service said a blizzard of lake-induced snow continued into the West New York Great Lakes region on Sunday, with “another 2-3 feet of snow expected to continue tonight.”

A couple in Buffalo, across the Canadian border, said: AFPMore On Saturday, when the roads were completely impassable, they would have taken less than 10 minutes to drive to see their family for Christmas.

Rebecca Boltrin, 40, said: “It’s hard because the situation is so bad…many fire departments don’t even send trucks out to make calls.

The wider travel nightmare has completely affected millions of people.

The storm, one of the deadliest in decades, canceled more than 1,700 U.S. flights on Sunday, according to tracking website Flightaware.com, and nearly 3,500 on Saturday and about 3,500 on Friday. 6,000 flights were canceled.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted on Saturday that “the most severe disruptions are past as airline and airport operations are slowly returning.”

But travelers remained stranded or delayed at airports such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York.

Frozen roads and whiteout conditions have temporarily closed some of the nation’s busiest transportation routes, including Interstate 70, which crosses the country.

Drivers had been warned not to take the roads – even as the country reached its busiest time of the year for travel.

Extreme weather has severely strained power grids, prompting millions of people to reduce their usage to minimize rolling blackouts in areas such as North Carolina and Tennessee. .

At some point Saturday, nearly 1.7 million customers lost power in the frigid weather, according to tracker poweroutage.us.

About 180,000 customers in the Eastern Province were still short of electricity, but that number had dropped significantly by Sunday.

In Canada, hundreds of thousands of people were without power in Ontario and Quebec, many flights were canceled in major cities, and rail passenger service between Toronto and Ottawa was halted.

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