Christmas weather: Ice storm leaves many without power across U.S.

This Dec. 23, 2013 photo shows Sammy Rauwerda, 5, crawling through an ice house built by his father Jim Rauwerda at his home in Grand Rapids, Mich. AP Photo/Grand Rapids Press, Andrew Kuhn

The ice that snapped utility poles and knocked out power to more than half a million people in the U.S. and Canada was stubbornly hanging on Wednesday as frigid temperatures cloaked a region from the Great Lakes to New England.

 

At least 24 deaths have been linked to the storm, some from carbon monoxide poisoning as people struggle to stay warm.

In the U.S., the nationwide death toll from the storm reached at least 14 on Tuesday, when a 50-year-old man in Maine was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator. 

It was the second reported death attributed to fumes from a generator during the storm.

In Canada, five people were reported dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. Police said two people in Ontario died after using a gas generator to heat their blacked-out home northeast of Toronto.

 

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Passengers sleep on the floor in the check-in line as dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, J.P. Moczulski)
 

Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada made progress getting the lights back on Wednesday and people were slowly trickling out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally-warm homes.

The number of customers in Maine without power had dropped to 60,000 by Wednesday. In Michigan, about 156,000 people were still without power Wednesday afternoon, down from more than 500,000 at the storm's peak. Snow is falling across most of the state and temperatures are in the teens and 20s.

 

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A cut tree at Addison Oaks Christmas Tree farm in Oakland County, Mich. sits blanketed with ice on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.
AP Photo/Detroit News, Elizabeth Conley
 The cold means ice isn't melting off lines and limbs, while wind gusts of more than 20 mph could bring down more branches. Two to 6 inches of snow in places on Thursday will hamper line crews trying to get to remote spots.

The ice storm last weekend was one of the worst to hit during a Christmas week and repair crews were working around the clock to restore service. States that weren't hit were sending crews to help.

 

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Tourists pose for photographs on the Brooklyn Bridge December 23, 2013 in New York as a warm front brings rain and fog to the US northeast.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Christmas day in New York City was partly sunny, with a high near 28 degrees, according to the  National Weather Service, and tomorrow the city will see a "slight chance of snow showers before noon, then a slight chance of rain showers between noon and 3pm." 

In Canada, about 160,000 customers were without power Wednesday. There were 72,000 customers without power in Toronto, down from 300,000 at the height of the outages, and Mayor Rob Ford said some may not have power restored until the weekend.

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