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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 19:01 GMT
Deadly US storms sweep north-east
New York skyscrapers in fog
New York was fog-bound, but spared the heavy snowfall
Powerful winter storms now affecting central and north-eastern parts of the US have now claimed at least 42 lives.

Ice storms - in which rain falls in temperatures so low it freezes - have knocked out electricity supplies to half a million people, officials say.

As the weather front moved north, scores of schools in New Hampshire and the state of New York were closed.

Many businesses, day-care centres and schools were also shut in Maine because of treacherous icy roads.

Most of those who have died were killed in weather-related accidents. One person died from carbon monoxide poisoning - a common cause of death when people without electricity use fuel-burning stoves in their homes.

Flash floods

"This is a big one, affecting all the way from New Mexico to Maine," Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the US weather service, said.

The worst-hit areas were Missouri, where freezing rain left behind a 7.6cm (three inch) coating of ice, and Oklahoma.

Icicles hang from traffic lights in Missouri

"With the ice, the trees come down on the power lines, and in Oklahoma it's going to take the rest of the week to get all that restored," Mr Feltgen said. "The lines are completely down. It's not like it's a transformer here and there - it's the whole grid. It's a mess."

Workers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) distributed generators and bottled water in Oklahoma, after President George W Bush declared an emergency in the state on Sunday.

Forecasters say the Midwest will now get a break from the weather, followed by light snowfalls.

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry called out the National Guard after more than 15cm (six inches) of rain caused flash flooding in the centre of the state.

Canada hit

In California, which usually experiences year-round mild temperatures, officials in the agricultural Central Valley said up to 70% of the oranges still on trees had been destroyed by the freeze.

The state's top agricultural official, A G Kawamura, estimated that damage from the freeze would surpass that of December 1998, when the state citrus industry lost 85% of its crop, valued at $700m (355.9m).

As the storms moved north-eastwards they sent temperatures there plummeting and brought wave after wave of sleet and snow.

The storms have now passed over Maine, the most northerly state on the US east coast, but dumped some 25cm (10 inches) of snow as they did.

North of the border, eastern Canada was finally hit by the first snow storm of the winter after an unusually mild start to the season.

The weather forced 50 flight cancellations and 80 delays at Montreal and Toronto airports.


Are you affected by the ice storms? Send us your experiences using the form below.

Do you have any pictures of the severe weather? If so, you can send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk


The freezing rain was so bad, I couldn't open my car door this morning, so I had to take my bicycle to the train station.
Rafael Winterpacht, Chicago, IL

On Saturday morning at 0730, the temperature was -13 degrees Celsius. Our house pipes have been freezing overnight and we have been going without water until the sun heats them up again.
Norman, Palmdale, CA, USA

We woke up this morning to several inches of snow mixed with ice. Leaving for work, the neighbours mentioned there have been over 170 traffic accidents since midnight, so we are both working from home today.
Amber, Toronto, ON

It has been so bad in Colorado and nobody has helped us. Cattle are still dying and there's no help from anyone. I have been wiped out -my cattle are dead. Everyone worries about the cities - better start worrying about where your food comes from and remember, when the beef costs so much, someone should have helped us farmers.
Peggy Otto, SE Colorado

I woke this morning to downed trees all over my yard. The ice is so thick that I barely touched the gas peddle and my car slid all the way down my drive way. It's very treacherous out there. Not many people are out on the roads or freeways. Most freeways into the city have been closed due to the ice storm.
Thiago, Dallas Texas

I am in Illinois and this storm has knocked out the power, which has since been put back on. We have had three inches of ice dangling off power lines, trees. Our car doors are frozen shut. Temperatures are around -10C at times. Hopefully everyone else south of us will get their power back soon and hopefully everyone else stays safe.
Gareth Hale, Illinois, USA

It may look like the storm is only over the Midwestern states but, I tell you, we are definitely feeling it here in Yuma, Arizona, too. We are used to being one of the hottest places in the U.S. and this is colder than we can remember. The temperatures have dropped here and it's enough to even snow, which is really something. People bundled up in thick jackets and wearing scarves, earmuffs and gloves in the desert southwest here at the Mexican-American border? Wow.
Michelle Wheaton, Yuma, Arizona U.S.A

Here in tiny Flint, Texas (population 242) the temperatures are plummeting and we are bracing for the next attacks of nature. So far the weather system that has produced ice storms to our north and west has caused a deluge that showed as eight inches of rainfall in the last 48 hours. Roads are flooded and the sheer soaking of the earth is causing trees to topple in the high winds that are part of this system. At home, perched on a ridge above the acres of trees on my land, I watched as two sixty-foot-tall pine trees simply lost their grip on the sodden soil and crashed to earth. A tiny creek, which often dries out during the summer month and meanders thru the middle of my property has overflowed its banks and turned the surrounding land into a quagmire. Another, larger, creek which delineates the further boundary of my land has been transformed into a raging flood. Watching the local TV weather the moving front is dramatic. Twenty miles to the northwest the temperatures are below freezing while twenty miles to the south east it's 70F as the warm gulf air battles the encroaching Artic attack.
Eric Rathbone, Flint Texas USA

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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ice covered streets in Oklahoma



SEE ALSO
Your pictures: US ice storms
16 Jan 07 |  In Pictures
In pictures: US ice storms
15 Jan 07 |  In Pictures
Deaths rise as US storm spreads
15 Jan 07 |  Americas
Colorado chaos as snow sweeps in
29 Dec 06 |  Americas

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