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Tens of thousands in U.S., Canada lack power

Power outages brought about by a massive winter storm kept almost 100,000 homes and businesses in the dark early Tuesday in two U.S. states and Canada.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Power outages kept more than 100,000 homes and businesses in the dark Tuesday in two U.S. states and Canada, as a winter storm's impact lingered more than a week after the icy blast forced airline cancellations and was blamed for more than two dozen deaths.

In Oklahoma, more than 88,000 homes and businesses remained without power, straining the ability of residents to pay for fuel and lodging. Some people had depleted their funds stocking up before the storm, only to see the food spoil when the power went out. Others used money to say in hotels, thinking electricity would be restored within a day or two.

"We've had people using generators who ran out of money for fuel to operate the generators," said Vince Hernandez, chairman of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma.

The storm contributed to at least 27 deaths: 16 in traffic accidents, eight in fires, two from carbon monoxide fumes and one from hypothermia, officials said.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric, the state's largest electric utility, set up walk-up stations in nine cities for customers to report power failures. Officials have said power should be restored by late Wednesday or Thursday.

Overnight temperatures over the past week have dipped into the teens.

24,000 powerless in Kansas
In the state of Kansas, where six deaths were blamed on last week's storm, about 24,000 customers remained without power, and some rural areas might not have electricity restored for a week or more. The reason is another winter storm expected this week, said Larry Detwiler of the Kansas Electric Cooperatives.

"We all hope for everybody to be back on by Christmas," he said. "I'm not sure that's a realistic goal."

While the Plains states struggled to put power back on, a swath of the country from the Great Lakes to New England dug out from a weekend storm that dumped 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow in some places.

School districts across the region canceled classes Monday. Snow blown by winds gusting to 35 mph cut visibility and made driving hazardous. At least eight traffic deaths were reported.

In Canada, the storm hammered the Maritime provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, after holding some central and eastern provinces in its grip over the weekend. Up to 25 centimeters of snow were predicted in some areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, while northern New Brunswick received about 30 centimeters of snow.

15 inches of snow in Ottawa
Before moving to the Atlantic coast, it dumped a record 15 inches of snow at Ottawa International Airport over the weekend, breaking the 1977 record by nearly 3 inches, Environment Canada, the country's environmental ministry, said.

"This is scary. All of this is the dress rehearsal, the preview of winter to come." said Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

In eastern Quebec, 16 inches of snow fell in some areas over the weekend, causing whiteout conditions.

A 7-year-old girl died Monday the town of Lewis, outside Quebec City, of apparent asphyxiation when a mound of snow collapsed as she played in a tunnel she had dug, authorities said.

Her death was one of at least four in Canada over the past few days attributed to the storm.

By early Tuesday, power was restored to about half of the almost 9,000 homes affected by the storm in the eastern provinces.