January 27, 2023 8:26 pm

US storm: Dozens dead as big freeze grips North America

Officials say 34 people died across the US, with the worst-hit area being the city of Buffalo, in New York state.

Four fatalities occurred in Canada when a bus rolled over on an icy road near the town of Merritt, in the western province of British Columbia.

The storm has wreaked havoc for days but power has been steadily restored after earlier blackouts.

Fewer than 200,000 customers were without power as of Sunday afternoon EDT, down from a peak of 1.7 million, the Associated Press reports.

Thousands of flights have been cancelled, preventing many people from reaching their families at Christmas.

More than 55 million Americans remained under wind chill alerts on Sunday.

The reach of the blizzard conditions has been unprecedented, stretching from Canada as far south as Texas.

The “bomb cyclone” winter storm – which occurs when atmospheric pressure plummets, causing heavy snow and winds – has disrupted travel across the country.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul – a native of Buffalo – said : “This will go down in history as Buffalo’s most devastating storm.”

Some of the seven dead in the area were found in cars and snow banks, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told Reuters news agency.

Storm-related deaths were also reported in Vermont, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Colorado.

The western US state of Montana is the worst hit by the cold, with temperatures dropping to -50F (-45C).

In Canada, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec are bearing the brunt of the storm.

In Quebec almost 120,000 customers were without electricity on Sunday. Officials say it some could take days for some households to be reconnected.

BBC Graphic showing how a bomb cyclone can develop

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