Blizzard Blamed for 18 Deaths in US

World | December 25, 2009, Friday // 15:48
Blizzard Blamed for 18 Deaths in US: Blizzard Blamed for 18 Deaths in US Up to 2ft (60cm) of snow was possible in some areas of the central US by Christmas Day. Photo by BGNES

A huge winter storm has gripped the central US, triggering mayhem on roads and airport during the busiest winter travel time.

The US weather service said the storm was spanning two-thirds of the country and authorities advise people to stay home for their safety.

Icy roads have caused at least 18 deaths, many of them in Nebraska and Kansas. More than 20 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on Interstate 40 in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and scores of churches called off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

Blizzard warnings were issued for Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin, and a state of emergency has been declared in South Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma, where the authorities have shut down highways after a series of accidents.

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