Frigid temps, coming snow could slow efforts to restore power for customers in US, Canada

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Associated Press

Posted on December 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 25 at 5:02 PM

LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) — Frigid temperatures from the Great Lakes to New England are making repair work more difficult as utility crews try to restore power to more than half a million people in the U.S. and Canada.

Crews have been working around the clock and making progress, but the cold means ice isn't melting off lines and limbs. And wind gusts of more than 20 miles an hour threaten to bring down more branches. Forecasts call for two to 6 inches of snow in places tomorrow, and that could further hamper line crews trying to get to remote spots.

In Litchfield, Maine, temperatures dropped to 4 degrees overnight. A school has been converted into a shelter, and volunteers have tried to make it homey. For Christmas Day, they cooked up a ham dinner with potatoes, vegetables, bread and pie.

Ashley Walter says her family is staying positive, and making sure they're celebrating Christmas. She says she packed stockings for everyone. Her husband Jacob has been making frequent trips home to check on the cats and the water pipes.

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APPHOTO VTBUR101: Trees and power lines grow heavy with ice as freezing rain continues into Monday morning, Dec. 23, 2013, in Cambridge, Vt. From Michigan to Maine, hundreds of thousands remain without power days after a massive ice storm — which one utility called the largest Christmas-week storm in its history — blacked out homes and businesses in the Great Lakes and Northeast. (AP Photo/Burlington Free Press, Emily McManamy) (23 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO VTBUR101 (12/23/13)££

APPHOTO MIFLI301: Carla Coulter, 46, of Clio, holds her 1-year-old grandson Connor Hergert closely as she gives him a kiss on the forehead while listening to the FirstMerit Bank Mixed Chorus sing "Silent Night" along with about 100 spectators during the 76th Annual Holiday Sing on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 at FirstMerit Bank in downtown Flint, Mich. "We don't have power. We're warming up, and I just feel so very blessed to have my family," Coulter said. "I don't need anything else." (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Jake May) LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT (24 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO MIFLI301 (12/24/13)££

APPHOTO MILAN102: Jake Baldino, left, and Mick Benbow of K & T Electric of DeWitt replace an electrical box and pole to a home in DeWitt Township, Mich., Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. From Michigan to Maine, hundreds of thousands remain without power days after a massive ice storm — which one utility called the largest Christmas-week storm in its history — blacked out homes and businesses in the Great Lakes and Northeast. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Greg DeRuiter) (23 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO MILAN102 (12/23/13)££

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