Page last updated at 02:04 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Canada hit by heavy snow storms

A woman during a snowstorm in Montreal, Canada, 21 December 2008
Canada may see its first coast to coast white Christmas for 37 years

Canada has been blanketed in snow from coast to coast after severe winter storms hit transport and left tens of thousands of homes without electricity.

Strong winds and snowfall have hampered relief efforts, with meteorologists forecasting more bad weather to come.

Storm warnings have been issued for coastal areas of Nova Scotia and Vancouver, Quebec and Ontario were also braced for more wintry weather.

Weathermen say Canada may see its first countrywide white Christmas since 1971.

Several areas in the US have also been settling in for an extended cold snap, with storm warnings in place across a number of states after a weekend of hurricane-force winds and heavy snowfall.

Coastal blizzards

Meteorologists with Environment Canada have issued snowfall warnings across the country.

In eastern Canada, Nova Scotia Power reported that tens of thousands of customers were without electricity, with more snow forecast to fall.

Lorne Thompson sent this picture of Grey Partridge trying to keep warm in his backyard in Calgary, Alberta.

"It's a widespread and severe winter storm and it's not over yet, with these high winds expected to continue for some time," a Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman told the Canadian Press news agency.

Some ferry services to the south-eastern province have been cancelled, while cross-country rail networks have also been affected.

Several bridges, ferries and parts of the Trans-Canada Highway were closed to traffic.

Air travel delays have been reported in Toronto and Charlottetown, while flights were cancelled at Fredericton Airport in the south-east after it was covered in more than 1ft (30cm) of snow.

Sub-zero temperatures also gripped parts of British Columbia as meteorologists warned of blizzards up and down Canada's west coast.

In the north-western territory of Yukon the temperature reportedly dropped as low as -45C (-49F).

At least five people died as ice storms cut power in some parts of the US while multiple car accidents were reported in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.

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US states braced for winter storm
21 Dec 08 |  Americas


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