The toll due to the winter storm in the United States increased to 34 on Sunday, leaving tens of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity, the Associated Press reported.

Two persons died in the Cheektowaga town of the New York state after emergency teams could not reach them on time to treat their medical conditions. Meanwhile, 10 persons died in the state’s Erie county, including six in the city of Buffalo, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.

Around 60% of the country’s population faced a winter weather advisory or warning, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures significantly below normal were reported from the Rocky Mountains in the western part of the United States to the Appalachian Mountains to the northeast.

A total of 1,707 domestic as well as international flights were cancelled on Sunday due to the storm.

The Buffalo city in the state of New York was among the worst-affected places, as emergency response teams were paralysed due to whiteout conditions. New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that on Saturday, nearly every fire truck in Buffalo was stranded due to snow and low visibility. She urged citizens to respect a driving ban that was in force in the region.

The city’s airport will also be closed till Tuesday morning, unidentified officials told AP. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, 43 inches (109 centimetres) of snow was reported at 7 am on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Visuals on social media showed homes, trees and cars covered in snow in the city.

The western state of Montana was the worst-hit state in terms of temperatures, as the mercury dropped to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, or -45 degrees Celsius, the BBC reported. Near whiteout conditions were reported from the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In Canada, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec were the regions worst-hit by the winter storm. Warnings of extreme cold and winter storms were also issued for many other parts of the country – from British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland in the east.