'Bomb cyclone' pounds eastern US, four reported dead

A giant winter "bomb cyclone" walloped the US East Coast on Thursday with heavy snow and freezing cold that made for treacherous travel conditions and bone-chilling misery.

Four people were reported killed in the southeastern states of North and South Carolina, where icy roads sent vehicles skittering.

The National Weather Service said early Friday that very cold temperatures and wind chills will follow for much of the eastern third of the US through the weekend.

A cold wave gripping a large section of the United States had already been blamed for a dozen deaths.

Thousands of flights were cancelled and schools closed in many localities as snow piled up and blizzard conditions began taking hold in the northeast.

Officials closed the runways at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports in New York.

Temperatures were so low in northern New York that Niagara Falls -- the giant waterfalls straddling the US-Canadian border -- froze.

Snowfall eased by nightfall but temperatures were set to plunge to 8 Fahrenheit (minus 13 Celsius) and remain sub-freezing all weekend.

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