As Buffalo Residents Remain Stuck Under Feet Of Snow; The Winter Storm Death Toll Increases To 25

As Buffalo Residents Remain Stuck Under Feet Of Snow; The Winter Storm Death Toll Increases To 25: County officials in Erie County, New York, reported 25 winter storm-related deaths on Monday, increasing the national death toll to 47.

The new number of deaths in Erie County, which contains Buffalo, comes as sections of western New York remain covered by up to 43 inches of snow, leaving vehicles trapped and electricity out for thousands over the Christmas holiday, one month after a catastrophic snowstorm.

In a news conference, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz remarked, “This is a horrible situation.” Officials expect 8–12 more inches of snow between Monday morning and 1 p.m. Tuesday. “This isn’t helpful as we’re trying to recover and clear off streets and go into areas that still haven’t been plowed,” he said.

Poloncarz stated Buffalo is “impassable in most parts” due to abandoned automobiles, trucks, and vehicles. Some cities have relaxed traffic limits. “It’ll take time to clean those,” he remarked.

As rescue workers and hundreds of snowplow drivers fanned out on Christmas Day, emergency and recovery vehicles were trapped. Officials uncovered 11 abandoned ambulances on Sunday.

Poloncarz told “CNN This Morning” Monday that it was the worst storm he could remember. “It was horrible for 24 hours.”

“We can manage snow,” he remarked. “But with the wind, the blinding views—complete whiteouts—and the extreme cold, it was some of the worst conditions that any of us have ever seen.”

Poloncarz stated in the news conference that Erie County had many weather-related deaths, including persons who died from exposure or cardiac attacks while shoveling or blowing snow.

Buffalo’s 1977 blizzard is often compared to the storm. Poloncarz stated the storm’s “ferocity… was worse than the blizzard of ’77” in Monday’s news conference. In a Sunday press conference, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul dubbed the storm the “most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long storied history.”

New York rescue attempts include hundreds of National Guard personnel. Hochul said state police had performed over 500 rescues by Sunday, including delivering a baby and saving a man with 4% of his artificial heart.

“We’re still in the midst of this very dangerous life-threatening situation,” Hochul added, asking locals to keep off the roads. Hochul added, “Our state and county plows have been out there, 24/7, giving up time and putting themselves in danger, driving through blinding snowstorms to clear the roadways.

Holiday travelers check flight information at Detroit Wayne County Metro Airport on December 24. Winter Storm Elliot hit the midwest on Friday and Saturday, plunging temperatures to single digits and windchills to -35 degrees Fahrenheit and disrupting US travel.
After Christmas, 1,300 US flights were canceled.
Poloncarz described terrifying traffic conditions during a blizzard.

“Imagine staring at a white sheet for more than 24 hours. “That was the worst outside,” he claimed. “It was constant blizzards and whiteouts. Nobody understood.”

Buffalo has hundreds of abandoned cars on its snow-covered streets, making living conditions challenging inside homes.

Hochul noted at her news conference that some inhabitants have stayed in their houses for over two days, some without power in the extreme weather. The governor stated utility firms have mobility and access issues, not a lack of resources.

Hochul said 94.5% of Erie County and 87% of Buffalo residents had electricity restored by Sunday evening.

Poloncarz said 12,000 Erie County homes and businesses lost power Sunday evening, and many won’t have lights or heat until Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service, Buffalo will see snowfall and freezing temperatures Monday, with a high of 23 degrees and a low of 21.

Sunday, December 25, snow covers a Cheektowaga neighborhood. Just one month after a major snowstorm, western New York gets buried in “lake effect” snow.

Storm kills in numerous states
The extended winter storm has brought dangerously low temperatures, wind chills, power outages, and hundreds of airline cancellations to a huge part of the US during the past week.

On December 27, 2021, the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia displays flight departure schedules.
Should I cancel or delay my flight?
Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham citizens were among 10 million Southerners under freeze advisories Monday.

Crops and plumbing may be damaged by subfreezing temperatures in the teens and low 20s. As temperatures recover from the frigid air, most alerts will expire Monday morning.

PowerOutage.US reported 65,000 outages early Monday. The storm has caused over a million outages.

Other utilities were affected: After line breaks “likely caused by the weather,” Jackson, Mississippi, issued a boil water advisory Sunday. The city supplied water to people on Christmas Day after overcoming a severe water crisis two months earlier.

Over 5,000 flights were canceled Friday, 3,400 Saturday, and 3,100 Christmas Day due to the storm. FlightAware reported 1,500 US flights were canceled before 8:30 a.m. ET Monday.

Several states have reported storm-related deaths. The fatalities include:

  •  Colorado: Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, confirmed two cold-related deaths since Thursday: one guy was found near a power transformer of a building, apparently seeking warmth, and another in an alleyway camp.
  • The Kansas Highway Patrol reported three weather-related traffic deaths Friday.
  • Officials say three individuals have died in Kentucky, including one in a Montgomery County car incident.
  • Kansas City police reported a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek, killing one passenger.
  • Ohio: Nine people have died in weather-related auto crashes, including four in a Saturday morning crash on Interstate 75 when a big tractor-trailer crossed the median and hit an SUV and a truck, authorities said.
  • Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health reported one storm-related death Friday.

Wisconsin State Patrol recorded one winter weather-related fatal crash on Thursday.

Storm aftermath:
Many Northeast cities and towns are still blanketed in thick snow as the massive cyclone moves away. Baraga, Michigan, got 42.8 inches of snow in 24 hours, while Watertown, New York, got 34.2.

The National Weather Service reported a record 10.5 inches of snow on Christmas Eve in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Winter storm warnings for Buffalo, Jamestown, and Watertown in New York will expire in the coming days. Buffalo might get 14 inches, Jamestown 8 inches, and Watertown 3 feet more snow. 40 mph gusts are possible.

El Paso, Texas, December 22, 2022: Migrants warm to a fire at sunrise after spending the night outside adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Local, state, and federal authorities face a surge in asylum seekers. As the Title 42 authority to remove migrants awaits a Supreme Court ruling after Christmas, the numbers are projected to rise. John Moore/Getty Images
As dangerously low weather hit, El Paso migrants struggle to find refuge. Lake effect snow warnings remain north of Jamestown until 10 a.m. EST Tuesday, where 18 inches are possible.

According to the National Weather Service, lake-effect snows blowing downwind from the Great Lakes will gradually weaken, but the Arctic air covering much of the eastern half of the country will remain cold.

Lake-effect snows will make travel challenging for the next couple of days, but conditions should improve over the week.

The low-pressure system will move farther into Canada, while another system will quickly sweep the northern US into Monday, delivering snow from the northern Plains to the Midwest.

Forecasters predicted most of the eastern United States will remain in a hard frost until Tuesday when temperatures will rise.

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