Cold wave: Arctic winter storm in the USA: number of cold victims increases, hundreds of thousands without power

Heavy snowfall, icy wind.

Cold wave: Arctic winter storm in the USA: number of cold victims increases, hundreds of thousands without power

Heavy snowfall, icy wind. A violent winter storm swept across the United States over the Christmas weekend, wreaking havoc across much of the country. Hundreds of thousands of homes were without power. The number of victims of the cold wave also continues to rise. US media reported on Sunday that the winter storm killed well over 30 people.

Temperatures were in the double-digit minus range in many regions. Freezing winds and heavy snowfall were life threatening in some places, especially in the region and around the Great Lakes of the Northeastern United States and the border with Canada.

The storm hit the city of Buffalo, which is located on the shore of Lake Erie in the US state of New York, with all its force. Heavy snowfalls and gale force winds created conditions on the roads where drivers can become disoriented due to extremely limited visibility. Many people were stuck in their homes and cars. At times, the police and fire brigade were unable to respond to emergency calls.

The state governor, Kathy Hochul, spoke of a "crisis of epic proportions". Front doors disappeared behind snow drifts up to 2.40 meters high, and the situation became life-threatening due to power failures in freezing temperatures. In Erie County, where Buffalo is located, some people froze to death in their cars and others were found on the road in snowdrifts, official Mark Poloncarz said. "This is not the Christmas we wanted."

In the hard-hit Buffalo region alone, the number of victims rose to twelve, according to the New York Times and Washington Post. The oldest victim was 93 years old, the youngest 26. The dead were discovered in homes and on the street, said Erie County Executive Director Mark Poloncarz. Overall, the number of people who died as a result of the cold snap is estimated at more than 30 in the United States. The NBC broadcaster, citing its own count, even reported 41 fatalities, the ABC broadcaster at least 39. Rescue workers and officials expected the number of victims to continue to rise.

The traffic departments of several states advised motorists to stay at home - and that at the most popular travel time of the year. The winter storm again led to the cancellation of more than 2,400 US flights, according to the website Flightaware on Sunday. Around 3,500 US flights were canceled on Saturday and almost 6,000 US flights on Friday. With regard to air traffic, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave a cautious all-clear on Saturday. He wrote on Twitter that "the most extreme disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover."

Canada was also trembling. Hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario and Quebec were without electricity. Numerous flights were canceled and all trains between Toronto and Ottawa were canceled due to a train derailment. Four people died and 53 others were injured when a bus overturned on an icy road in the Canadian province of British Columbia on Saturday.