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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 16:54 GMT
US still gripped by extreme cold
Snapped power pole in Buffalo, Missouri
Ice storms have knocked out electricity supplies
Harsh winter weather is still gripping large parts of the US, leaving at least 50 people dead and hundreds of thousands without power.

A powerful storm which began on Friday has brought ice, snow, floods and high winds to a huge swathe of the country from south-west to north-east.

The north-western states of Oregon and Washington have also been hit by sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow.

The cold continues, but major eastern cities were spared the worst effects.

The storm had weakened by Wednesday in many places, but more freezing rain was forecast for Texas later in the day.

Meanwhile a state of emergency has been announced in 10 counties of California, after citrus growers said the cold weather had probably destroyed about 70% of the state's crop.

Emergency

Ice storms - in which rain falls in temperatures so low it freezes - had knocked out electricity supplies to half a million people by Tuesday.

Icicles hang from traffic lights in Missouri

More than 300,000 were still without power by the end of the day.

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

US President George W Bush has declared states of emergency in both states.

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.

In Washington state and Oregon, five inches (13 cm) of snow fell, snarling traffic on major highways and forcing motorists to abandon their cars.

First snow

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

The storms passed over Maine, the most northerly state on the US east coast, but dumped some 10 inches (25cm) 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.


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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes of the harsh conditions across the US



SEE ALSO
Your pictures: US ice storms
16 Jan 07 |  In Pictures
In pictures: US ice storms
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