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At least 17 people were killed in a winter storm in North America

At least 17 people were killed in a winter storm in North America

A blizzard, rain and bitter cold moved across the continent. In the eastern United States, 65 million people have been warned that temporary power outages may be necessary, and more than 2,300 flights were canceled Saturday, according to Flightaware.

The day before, nearly 6,000 flights were canceled and thousands of travelers were stranded at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and New York.

One of them is Zack Cuyler, whose flight to his hometown of Houston has already been canceled twice this week. The 35-year-old, who lives in New York, hopes he will now be able to go home to his family on Christmas Day.

– I’m just grateful if I get to see my family at Christmas, he tells AFP.

Minus 48 is graded

A hail and storm that brought freezing rain in the northwest and severe flooding in the east extends from the northern United States all the way to the Mexican border.

A weather advisory was issued on Friday affecting more than 200 million Americans – about 60 percent of the population. Temperatures as low as minus 48 degrees Celsius have been measured, according to reports from the US Meteorological Agency. Combined with a storm, you can freeze any part of the body within a few minutes, the weather service warns.

Although the weather warning issued on Saturday is much lower, authorities still warned of life-threatening conditions and urged residents to stay indoors.

According to the NWS, dangerously cold conditions are expected to continue across the central and eastern United States through the weekend, before temperatures return to normal next week.

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Closed highways

Ice and snowfall have closed many highways, including portions of I-70 that stretch hundreds of miles across the central United States.

In hard-hit New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul sent the National Guard to the western city of Buffalo as emergency services were overwhelmed by severe weather.

“Hundreds of people may still be stuck in cars,” Erie County Sheriff Mark Poloncars said Saturday.

Blackouts

The extreme cold is also a major problem for the roughly 1 million ela subscribers who were still without power on Saturday evening Swedish time, according to poweroutage. Some cities, including those in North Carolina, have introduced temporary blackouts as a result of high demand for electricity.

There are also weather warnings for large parts of Canada. Hundreds of thousands in Ontario and Quebec were affected by the power outage and many flights were canceled from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal airports.

A satellite image from the NOAA weather agency shows weather systems over North America on Christmas Eve. Photo: NOAA/AP/TT

The winter storm caused major air traffic problems in the United States and Canada.  At Toronto's Pearson Airport, luggage piled up due to turbulence.

The winter storm caused major air traffic problems in the United States and Canada. At Toronto’s Pearson Airport, luggage piled up due to turbulence. Photo: Cole Burston/AP/TT