A massive snowstorm has wreaked havoc in the north-eastern US and left seven people dead in upstate New York.After sweeping across the Great Lakes, the storm dumped 5ft (1.5m) of snow in the Buffalo area, with more forecast.
The storm caused seven deaths there – one in a car crash, one trapped in a car and five from heart attacks.
Freezing temperatures were recorded across all 50 US states, including Florida and Hawaii, and there were more deaths elsewhere in the country.
“We have tried to get out of our house, and we are lucky to be able to shovel so we can open the door,” said Linda Oakley, a resident of Buffalo.
“We’re just thinking that in case of an emergency we can at least get out the door,” she added. “We can’t go any further.”
Residents were reported trapped in their homes and cars, and strong winds and icy roads caused motorway accidents and forced school closures in parts of the US.
More than 100 vehicles were reported trapped along a New York state roadway on Wednesday.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed more than 100 National Guard members to assist in clearing roads and removing abandoned vehicles.
“This is an historic event,” he said. “When all is said and done, this snowstorm will break all sorts of records, and that’s saying something in Buffalo.”
The National Weather Service said some places could top the record for a single-day of snowfall, which is 6ft 4ins (1.93m).
- a women’s basketball team from Niagara University was left stranded on a roadway for nearly 30 hours before being picked up by authorities
- a woman had to give birth in a Buffalo fire station after attempts to travel to a hospital failed
- the Buffalo Bills have offered money and tickets to people willing to help shovel snow from the stands of the US football arena before Sunday’s scheduled game
- in Corpus Christi, Texas, experts were caring for more than 100 turtles stranded on Gulf Coast beaches due to cold weather
Train service in parts of New York state was suspended on Wednesday, while long stretches of highway near Buffalo were shuttered.
As well as the fatalities in New York, there were two other weather-related deaths reported in New Hampshire and Michigan.
About 20 people have died across the US since Saturday.
Three firefighters in Indiana were also injured when a trailer struck a fire truck on a snow-covered roadway.
Amid the weather, the State University of New York Buffalo announced it planned to go ahead with a nationally televised football game on Wednesday evening, although all pre-game activities were cancelled.