At least 50 deaths have been linked to the powerful storm that continues to batter the United States and Canada.
Forty-six of those deaths were recorded in the United States and four others died after a bus overturned on icy roads in British Columbia, Canada.
Eighteen of the U.S. deaths came from New York state, where the city of Buffalo was battered by blizzards, freezing temperatures and thick “lake-effect” snow — the result of frigid air moving across warm lake water.
‘Not the Christmas any of us hoped for’
Nearly four feet of snow had fallen at the Buffalo airport as of Sunday, with snow rates of two to three inches per hour south of the city, the National Weather Service said.
Storm victims in the area included people who were found stranded in their vehicles, frozen in snowy conditions while would-be rescuers offered help as they battled the weather.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochle said over the weekend that many ambulances and fire trucks in the state were themselves trapped in snow.
The Buffalo Police Department posted a request online seeking help from snowmobile owners with search and rescue efforts.
“This is not the Christmas that any of us hoped for or expected,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
What is a Bomb Cyclone?
In pictures: America is deep frozen
Life on the road as New York State hits extreme cold
More than 55 million people remain under weather alerts
In a worst-case scenario, as many as 1.8 million homes in the US were without power, and thousands of flights were canceled and delayed.
But the number of homes without power now stands at about 150,000, even though more than 55 million Americans were still under wind chill warnings on Sunday.
In Canada, at least 140,000 homes are without power, mostly in Ontario and Quebec.
Four people were killed on Christmas Eve when a bus overturned in icy conditions on Highway 97C near Long Lake, about 200 miles east of Vancouver.
The local medical agency – Interior Health – told CBC Canada that 52 people were taken to hospital and 36 required further treatment.
Eight people remained in hospital by early Christmas afternoon, two of them in serious condition.
Temperatures could drop as low as -43C
The Canadian Meteorological Agency says temperatures will remain low in many parts of the country this week.
Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories is expected to drop to -28C (-18F) overnight, but given the wind chill, temperatures could drop as low as -43C (-45F), putting the risk of frostbite within minutes.
Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory is expected to drop to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) due to wind chill.