Deadly winter storm batters North America during Christmas period

Washington, Dec 25 (EFE).- A historic winter storm, dubbed Elliot, has brought frigid conditions, snow and wind to swathes of North America during the Christmas period and caused over 20 deaths in the United States, local media reported Sunday. 

In the US, some 315,000 homes and businesses were left without power on Christmas Eve as the ‘once in a generation’ bomb cyclone knocked out power lines with strong winds, heavy snowfall and extremely low temperatures, CNN said. 

“The life-threatening cold temperatures and in combination with dangerous wind chills will create a potentially life-threatening hazard for travelers that become stranded, individuals that work outside, livestock and domestic pets,” the National Weather Service said in its report valid through December 27. 

“If you must travel or be out in the elements, prepare for extreme cold by dressing in layers, covering as much exposed areas of skin as possible and pack winter safety kits in your vehicles.”

The Los Angeles Times estimated that at least 18 people had died in the US, most from becoming trapped in vehicles or due to car accidents in adverse weather. 

The Arctic blast has brought freezing temperatures to an expansive stretch of North America from Canada to Texas. 

Heading into the Christmas season, at least 200 million people in the US, or 60% of the population, were living in areas placed under some form of winter weather warning. 

The latest NWS report Saturday said 3.9 million people were in areas affected by weather warnings for the storm, mostly in the Midwest, North and Northwest. 

The arrival of Elliot thwarted Christmas travel plans and reunions for thousands of people as a further 4,900 flights were canceled Saturday, according to FlightAware. 

Some 6,000 flights were canceled on Friday, causing travel chaos. EFE

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