The bad weather, a combination of blizzards and unusually cold weather, brought icy winds in 48 contiguous states over the weekend.
Travelers have been stranded, thousands of flights have been cancelled, and residents have been stranded in their homes covered in snow and ice.
Twenty-two weather-related deaths have been confirmed in eight states, including at least seven in western New York, where lots of snow, high winds and bitter cold brought Buffalo and surrounding cities.
While areas of the country have begun to weather the massive storm and some areas have returned to seasonal temperatures, Buffalo remains a “major disaster,” with emergency services unable to reach many of its hardest-hit areas, a senior official said. ‘Start. Sunday.
“We have seven confirmed deaths at this point from the storm. There could be more,” county official Marc Poloncars told reporters.
He described the harsh conditions, speaking of the discovery of frozen bodies in auto and under snow blocks, prompting New York Governor Kathy Hochul to enlist the help of the National Guard to assist in relief efforts.
“It was the worst anyone has ever experienced,” added Bolonkars.
The National Weather Service has warned that Great Lakes snowstorms will continue into Christmas Day with “an additional 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) of snow accumulations overnight.”
A couple in Buffalo, on the Canadian border, told AFP on Saturday that the roads were impassable and they would not venture in 10 minutes of auto to see their family at Christmas.
“The situation is difficult because the conditions are very bad,” said Rebecca Bortolin, 40. “Many emergency departments don’t even send trucks in answering calls”.
The transportation disruption has affected millions of Americans.
The most severe storm in decades led to the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights on Sunday, after about 3,500 flights were canceled on Saturday and about 6,000 flights on Friday, according to the site web of specialized monitoring, Flight Aware.
“The most serious disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover,” Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg said on Twitter on Saturday.
But the travelers got stuck or in delay at airports, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis and New York.
Snow on the road led to the temporary closure of some of the busiest roads, including Highway 70, which runs across the country.
Drivers have been warned not to use the roads during the busiest time, usually due to holidays.
Weather conditions have also impacted power grids and many energy providers are urging customers to reduce usage to reduce outages in places like North Carolina and Tennessee.
On Saturday, up to 1.7 million subscribers in all over the country have lost electricity due to the bitter cold, according to the site web specialized “Power Outage”.
But the number had dropped sharply by Sunday, though more than 200,000 subscribers in the eastern states were still without power.
In turn, Canadian authorities have issued severe weather warnings. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without electricity in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, many flights were canceled in major cities, and train service between Toronto and Ottawa was suspended.
In British Columbia, authorities said 53 people were injured in a passenger bus crash last Saturday on a highway in northeast Vancouver. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.