Christendom’s biggest religious festival, Christmas, has been marred by a winter blizzard from the Arctic. At least 38 people lost their lives in the United States and Canada due to this terrible storm. Among them, 34 people died in the United States alone.

Reuters reported that Buffalo, New York was the most affected by this winter’s snowstorm. Road and utility crews cleared snow in Buffalo on Monday in what they said was the deadliest blizzard in 45 years. The city was buried under heavy snow, and many people were trapped in their cars. Among them, 13 people died.

A winter storm from the Arctic has turned deadly since Friday. It hit Western New York hard over the Christmas holiday weekend, spreading for several days across much of the United States south to the Mexican border.

At least 30 people have died in US weather-related incidents since late last week, according to NBC News, while CNN says the total death toll is 26. The greater Buffalo area, located on the edge of Lake Erie near the Canadian border, was one of the hardest hit.

Four more people died when the bus overturned on a snow-covered road near the town of Merritt in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, the BBC reported. This unprecedented winter storm is raging from Canada to the Rio Grande River in the United States.

Buffalo’s governor called it an ‘epic, once-in-a-lifetime’ weather disaster. It was the deadliest blizzard to hit New York state’s second-largest city since 1977. About 30 people lost their lives in the 1977 storm.

Although the weather forecast says that the storm will stop and the weather will return to normal in the next few days, the advice to avoid unnecessary travel is still in force. Load-shedding situation is steadily improving even as the severe winter storm has disrupted life in wide areas.

At one point, 1.7 million people were without power, but by Sunday afternoon that number had dropped below 2 million, a New York-based news agency reported. About 5.5 crore people were under cold weather warning on this day; Thousands of flights were canceled due to the storm, leaving countless people unable to reunite with their families for Christmas.

Deaths were also reported in Vermont, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

Temperatures have dropped so low in South Florida that iguanas (large chameleon-like animals) are freezing, and coming down from trees. The temperature in the western state of Montana has dropped to minus 45 degrees Celsius.

The winter storm is moving the most over Canada’s Ontario and Quebec provinces. As of last Sunday, about 120,000 people in Quebec were without power.

(Dhaka Times / 26 December / SAT)