US killer winter storm marches north

Pile-up on Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia, on 14 February 2014 Thirty people were injured, five severely, in a multiple vehicle pile-up near Philadelphia

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The latest snow storm to blanket the US Atlantic coast this winter is marching north, after being blamed for the deaths of more than two dozen people.

Doctors are trying to save the baby of a 36-year-old expectant mother who was killed by a snow plough in New York.

A sheriff in Georgia has "cancelled" Valentine's Day celebrations because of the bad weather.

The winter has left the Great Lakes of the US Midwest almost completely frozen for the first time in two decades.

More than 440,000 households were still without electricity by Friday morning, mainly in Georgia and South Carolina, down from 1.2 million.

More snow forecast

The weather system is predicted to taper off as it crawls farther north from New England.

People dig out vehicles after overnight snow in Albany, New York, on 14 February 2014 People dig out vehicles after overnight snow in Albany, New York

A milder storm is expected to dump up to 3in (7cm) of snow on the East Coast over the weekend, reports the National Weather Service.

Road conditions in some areas were still treacherous. Thirty people were injured, five severely, in a multiple vehicle pile-up near Philadelphia on Friday morning.

Officials said it would take many hours to clear damaged vehicles, including lorries. The crash spawned a traffic jam stretching for five miles (8km).

Many schools remained closed in eight states from Virginia to Maine, while the federal government in Washington DC opened two hours late after shutting down completely on Thursday.

Almost 1,500 flights were cancelled on Friday, compared with 6,500 a day earlier. All flights were grounded at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday.

The storm dumped around a foot of snow across the region, though some areas, such as upstate New York, saw up to 27in of the white stuff.

A New York City police officer scrapes snow and ice from his patrol car on 14 February 2014 A New York City police officer scrapes snow and ice from his patrol car

The weather system, nicknamed Pax by meteorologists, has been blamed for at least 25 deaths, according to an Associated Press tally, mainly from road accidents.

Pregnant Min Lin, 36, died after being struck on Thursday by a snow plough as it reversed outside a shopping centre in Brooklyn, New York City.

She was taken to a hospital, where her nearly full-term baby, weighing 6lb 6oz, was delivered by caesarean section.

The child is in a critical condition in a neonatal intensive care unit, a hospital spokeswoman said.

No immediate charges were brought against the driver.

Valentine's Day 'cancelled'

The fresh spasm of foul weather has delayed tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers.

"It's a godawful thing," Mike Flood, owner of Falls Church Florist in Virginia, told the Associated Press news agency. "We're going to lose money. There's no doubt about it."

temperature map

A sheriff in north-eastern Georgia, meanwhile, said he was cancelling Valentine's Day because of the bad weather.

In an apparently tongue-in-cheek Facebook post, Sheriff Scott Berry declared the Oconee County region a "No Valentines [sic] Day Zone".

He said all men in the area were exempt from having to buy chocolate or other gifts for their partners until next Tuesday.

It has been a particularly icy winter in the US, with almost back-to-back bitter cold snaps.

The Great Lakes - which hold nearly a fifth of the freshwater on the world's surface - are currently 88% covered with ice.

The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94% of the lakes' surface was frozen, said the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

A man shovels his sidewalk in Buffalo, New York, on 14 February 2014 A man shovels his pavement in Buffalo, New York
A motorist opens a car door before digging out of snow in Albany, New York on 14 February 2014 A motorist opens a car door before digging out of snow in Albany, New York
A woman and her dog go for a walk in Central Park in New York City on 14 February 2014 A woman and her dog go for a walk in New York City's Central Park

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