Thirteen people have died in the US as the country grapples with a winter storm that saw temperatures plummet to -45C (-49F).
More than 200 million people, or roughly 60 percent of the U.S. population, are receiving some form of weather warning or advisory, with severe cold expected to persist through the Christmas weekend.
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13 weather-related deaths to date:
• Two dead in Kentucky car crash
• A homeless person dies in Louisville
• Three dead in three crashes in Oklahoma – two were caused by wind-blown snow, while details of the third are unclear
• Missouri motorist dies after losing control on icy road, over embankment, over concrete wall and hanging upside down in creek
• In Wisconsin, one person was killed when a pickup truck struck the back of another vehicle before leaving the road and struck a tractor trailer parked on a hard shoulder
• A man was found dead in Memphis on Friday morning and while no details were available, authorities said the death appeared to be weather related
• Four dead in car crash in Ohio – confirmed by state governor, but no further information
The Kansas Highway Patrol also said three people were killed in separate vehicle collisions as the storm began Wednesday, with drivers losing control of their vehicles on icy roads.
Temperatures plummeted in landlocked states: -45.6C (-50F) in Montana and -38C (-37F) in Des Moines, Iowa, likely in less than five months, according to the National Weather Service. Frostbite within minutes.
Heavy snow and blizzards are continuing in parts of the Great Lakes region, including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, where up to 4 feet of snow is expected on the eastern side of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
At least 1.4 million homes and businesses were without power Friday morning as the winds tore down trees and cut power lines, though that number had dropped to about 550,000 by Friday night.
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According to the poweroutage.us website, Maine, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina were hardest hit, followed by Tennessee, New York, Maryland and Connecticut.
More than 5,000 flights in and out of the United States were canceled on Friday amid a rush to open enough emergency shelters for people who are homeless or without power at home.
Urgent efforts are also underway to provide firewood to some Native American tribes living in remote areas, such as members of the Rosebud Sioux and Oglala Sioux tribes in South Dakota.
Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out described the efforts as “a battle so far.”
U.S. President Joe Biden said: “It’s not like a snowy day when you were a kid – it’s serious stuff.”
Canada is also experiencing a severe storm, with hundreds of flights delayed or canceled and hundreds of thousands of properties without power.
Ontario Provincial Police Chief Chris Schmidt said police had received reports of multiple collisions involving as many as 100 vehicles that closed a major highway near London, Ont.