US winter storm: Hundreds of thousands face mass outages on Christmas Day

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By Euronews  with AP
Many have found themselves stranded as a major snow storm pummeled North America
Many have found themselves stranded as a major snow storm pummeled North America   -   Copyright  AP/Derek Gee/The Buffalo News

Dozens of people have died in the US as an extreme winter storm continues to batter parts of the country, with blizzards causing dangerous travel conditions.

Across the U.S., officials have attributed deaths to exposure, car crashes, a falling tree limb and other effects of the storm. 

The storm unleashed its fury on Buffalo, in the state of New York, with hurricane-force winds causing whiteout conditions.

Forecasters said 71 centimetres of snow accumulated as of Saturday in Buffalo.

More than 315,000 homes and businesses were without power on Christmas Eve. Thousands of flights have been cancelled during the festive period.

Blinding blizzards, freezing rain and frigid cold also knocked out power in places from Maine to Seattle, while a major electricity grid operator warned the 65 million people it serves across the eastern U.S. that rolling blackouts might be required.

The storm is nearly unprecedented in its scope, stretching from Canada to the Texas border.

About 60% of the U.S. population faced some sort of winter weather advisory or warning.