The powerful blizzard sweeping across the northern United States has left Buffalo, New York, looking like a “war zone”, said state governor Kathy Hochul.
Today, Monday, the city recorded 25 deaths related to bad weather, an increase from the number that was recorded yesterday, Sunday, which was 13 cases.
“This is a war with Mother Nature and she is hitting us with everything she has,” the New York governor said since Thursday.
The blizzard, which stretched from Canada to the Mexican border, killed at least 50 people nationwide.
The area around Buffalo, north of New York, was worst affected by the storm.
“It’s like going to a war zone, and seeing the cars on both sides of the road is terrifying,” said New York Governor Hochul, who was born in Buffalo.
She said residents were facing a “life-threatening situation”, as many emergency vehicles were unable to reach the hardest-hit areas or got themselves stuck in the snow.
A family with children between the ages of two and six had to wait 11 hours before they were rescued in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
“I had simply lost hope,” the father, Zila Santiago, told CBS. He said he managed to stay warm by keeping the engine running and manage stress by playing games with the children.
More victims are expected to be found once drifts of melting snow uncover cars caught in the storm and make way for remote homes.
The winter storm, or “bomb hurricane” as it is known, has disrupted travel across the country. This phenomenon occurs when atmospheric pressure drops, causing heavy snowfall and strong winds.
Meteorologists say that the storm will ease over the next few days, but the advice to people is still to avoid travel and movement except for necessity.
Over the weekend, more than 250,000 homes and shops suffered from power outages, but the power supply is gradually being restored.
And in Canada, four deaths occurred when a bus overturned on an icy road, near the town of Merritt in the western province of British Columbia.
Thousands of flights have been cancelled, preventing many people from reaching their families for Christmas.
More than 55 million Americans remained under cold wind warnings Sunday.
The reach of the blizzard conditions was unprecedented, stretching from Canada as far south as Texas.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncars told Reuters news agency that dead people had been found in cars and icy ponds.
Storm-related deaths have also been reported in Vermont, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.
The state of Montana in the western United States is hardest hit by the cold, with temperatures dropping to 50 F (-45 C).
In Canada, Ontario and Quebec are bearing the brunt of the storm.
In Quebec, nearly 120,000 consumers lost power on Sunday. Officials say it could take days to restore power to some families.