Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Icy blast hits 250m Americans and Canadians

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Nearly 250 million Americans and Canadians are feeling the icy grip of a massive winter storm linked to at least 19 deaths ahead of the holiday weekend.

More than 1.5 million people lost power and thousands of flights have been cancelled since Thursday.

The vast storm extends more than 2,000 miles (3,200km) from Texas to Quebec.

A bomb cyclone, when atmospheric pressure plummets, has brought blizzard conditions to the Great Lakes on the US-Canada border.

Near white-out conditions have been reported in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Buffalo, New York, where the US National Weather Service (NWS) reported “zero mile” visibility.

In Canada, Ontario and Quebec were bearing the brunt of the Arctic blast, with power cut to hundreds of thousands.

Much of the rest of the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland, was under extreme cold and winter storm warnings.

Temperatures in Elk Park, in the US state of Montana, dropped to -50F (-45C), while the town of Hell, Michigan, has frozen over.

It was 1F (-17C) in the snow-covered community on Friday night. Emily, a bartender at Smitty’s Hell Saloon, told the BBC: “It’s pretty cold here, but we’re having a hell of a time.”

In South Dakota, snowed-in Native Americans burned clothes for warmth after running out of fuel, said tribal officials.

Heavy snowfall was forecast in areas of Pennsylvania and Michigan.

More than eight million people remained under blizzard warnings, said the NWS.

Coastal flooding has been seen in New England, New York and New Jersey, inundating communities and downing power lines. (BBC)

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