At least 39 people have been killed across the US amid the aftermath of a bomb cyclone which has seen one of the worst snow storms in decades. Plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall have seen emergency services overwhelmed with cases of frostbite and residents trapped indoors with no power.
In the western parts of New York state, thirteen people are reported to have died in the storm.
The deep freeze has blanketed much of the US with temperatures recorded as low as -45 celsius in Montana.
Severe weather has left areas facing more than 30 inches of snow by Tuesday.
In a press conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul described the storm as ‘the most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long, storied history”.
Ms Hochul said Sunday” “It is devastating. It is going to a war zone”.
In the Buffalo area, some of those who died were found frozen to death in their cars, after becoming trapped in blizzard ‘white outs’.
Others were discovered on the street in snowbanks, according to Mark Poloncarz, the executive of Erie County.
And Mr Poloncarz warned that the authorities were expecting to see even more fatalities as the area prepared for upwards of 30 inches of snow by the end of today (Tuesday).
“There may be more,” Mr Poloncarz said.
“I don’t want to say this is going to be it, because that would be fallacy for me to say that. Because we know there are people stuck in cars for more than two days. And there are people in homes that are below freezing now temperatures.”
The ages of those killed in Buffalo and the surrounding areas range from 26 to 93.
Only one of these victims has so far been publicly identified – 56-year-old William Clay, who died on his birthday December 23 after trying to walk through the snow to go to a store.
While much of America is affected by the freezing temperatures, New York State has been hardest hit.
And the US National Weather Service last night warned that Buffalo in particular is set to be battered by another 36 inches of snow by the end of today (Tuesday).
It further said residents should be on their guard for numbing cold and heavy “lake-effect” snow – the result of frigid air moving over warmer lake waters.
At its worst, as many as 1.8 million properties were without power in the US, with thousands of flights cancelled and delayed.
But the number of homes without power is now around 150,000, although more than 55 million Americans remain under the severe chill warning.
The storm is also affecting Canada, where four people died when a bus rolled over on icy roads in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
At least 140,000 homes are also still without electricity, most of them in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.