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Historic blizzard in US kills at least 30 people

The historic blizzard that blanketed the eastern United States has killed at least 30 people while millions of Americans begin digging out from the snowstorm.

The storm, which set a new single-day snowfall record in Washington, DC, and New York City, walloped a dozen states from Friday into early Sunday, affecting an estimated 85 million residents.

The 26.8 inches (68 cm) of snow that fell in New York’s Central Park was the second-highest accumulation in the city since records began in 1869, and more than 22 inches (56 cm) paralyzed the capital Washington.

But as the storm ended and temperatures rose Sunday, New York emerged from a total shutdown with a travel ban lifted, even though major travel disruptions persisted in Washington.

But as the death toll from storm-related deaths rose, authorities advised caution. Many of the storm-related deaths were people who suffered heart attacks while shoveling.

On Saturday, more than a dozen people were killed in storm-related automobile crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

One person died in Maryland and three in New York while shoveling snow. Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, and one from carbon monoxide poisoning in Pennsylvania.

“We urge all New Yorkers not to travel on our roads except when necessary, and to be extremely careful when driving,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.

“Our tireless sanitation workers are out in full force and we must give them space to clear the roads. If you go outside, use caution and stay alert for ice and cold temperatures,” he added.

Nearly 3,500 domestic and international flights were canceled on Sunday, FlightAware said, and the main airports in the US capital remained closed Sunday.

About 150,000 customers in North Carolina and 90,000 in New Jersey lost electricity at the height of the storm.

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