Extreme Cold Claims 38 In US, Canada

THE prolonged winter storm that brought heavy snow, high winds and brutal cold to most of the US this past week has killed 38 people and had hundreds of thousands without power on Christmas day.

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 scope of the winter storm has been unprecedented, stretching from Canada as far south as the Rio Grande.

Forecasters say the storm will ease off in the next few days but the advice remains to avoid travelling unless essential.

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.

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