A deadly blizzard paralyzed Buffalo on Christmas Day. It trapped motorists and emergency workers inside their cars, leaving them unable to drive. This caused thousands of people without electricity and raised the death toll due to storms that have slowed down much of the United States.
According to NBC News, at least 30 Americans have been killed in weather-related events since Friday’s deep freeze that gripped the country, combined with the snow, ice, and howling winds of a storm that roared from the Great Lakes Region.
CNN reported 26 weather-related deaths.
Most of the deaths occurred in Buffalo, New York at the Lake Erie border. The numbing cold along with heavy snow from the “lake effect” – caused by frigid air flowing over warm lake waters – lasted through the holiday weekend.
Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive said that the confirmed death toll from the storm was now at 13 after three were reported in Buffalo overnight. Poloncarz stated that there were more deaths than expected, with some victims being found in vehicles and others in snow banks.
Poloncarz tweeted Sunday that “This Christmas is not what any of us expected or hoped for.” “My sincerest condolences go out to all the grieving families.”
Kathy Hochul, New York’s Governor of New York said it was an “epic and once-in-a-lifetime” storm that caused the worst winter storm ever to strike the Greater Buffalo region since the 1977 snowstorm that claimed nearly 30 lives.
Hochul stated that they have “surpassed that storm in their intensity, longevity, and the force of its winds.” Hochul spoke at an evening news conference. He also said that the storm of the moment would be remembered as the “blizzard” of 22.
Nearly six weeks had passed since a lake-effect storm that was more severe but set a new record in western New York.
Poloncarz stated that hundreds of Erie County drivers were stuck in their cars despite a ban on driving since Friday. National Guard troops were called in to assist with rescues hampered by snow drifting and white-out conditions.
He said that many snowplows and other equipment were stuck in the snow on Saturday and Sunday. “We had to send rescue missions,” he explained to reporters.
Buffalo’s police posted an appeal to the public to assist in their search-and-recovery efforts. They asked anyone who has a snowmobile and is willing to help to contact a hotline to get instructions.
Even for an area used for winter storms, the severity of this storm was remarkable.
Christina Klaffka (39), a North Buffalo resident watched her neighbor’s roof fall and heard her windows shake from the “hurricane-like winds.” On Saturday night, she lost power and her entire neighborhood was left without power on Sunday morning.
While I tried to view the Buffalo Bills or Chicago Bears games, my TV was constantly flickering. She said that she lost power in the third quarter.
John Burns (58), a North Buffalo retiree, claimed that his family was trapped inside their home for 36 hours due to the severe cold and storm.
He said, “Nobody was there.” He said that nobody was walking their dogs. “Nothing happened for the past two days.”
He said that snowfall amounts were difficult to estimate due to fierce winds, which reduced accumulation between homes, but still piled up a 5-foot (1.5-2-meter) pile “in front of my garage.”
Hochul stated to reporters Sunday that her request for federal disaster declaration support had been granted by the Biden Administration.
Hochul stated that 200 National Guard soldiers were deployed in New York’s western region to assist police and firefighters, perform wellness checks, and provide supplies for shelters.
After knocking out power at peak times late last week to 1.5 million customers, the larger storm system moved east Sunday. This was after causing thousands of cancellations of commercial flights during busy holidays.
According to PowerOutage.us, more than 150,000 homes and businesses in the United States were without electricity on Sunday. This is a sharp decrease from the nearly 1.8 million who had no power by Saturday morning. Poloncarz stated that 15,000 people in Buffalo were without power on Sunday night.
According to him, one substation that was knocked off power had been sealed by an 18-foot snow mound. Utility crews discovered the whole facility frozen in place.
Although temperatures rose from the near-zero levels that prevailed on Saturday, Christmas Day temperatures remained below the average in the eastern and central United States and well below the Gulf Coast’s freezing point, National Weather Service (NWS), meteorologist Rich Otto stated.
According to the most recent NWS count, Buffalo Airport had accumulated nearly 4 feet of snow by Sunday. White-out conditions continued south of Buffalo well into the afternoon while continuing snowstorms dropped 2-3 inches per hour.
Officials in Kentucky confirmed the deaths of three people in storm-related incidents since Friday. In Ohio, however, at least four were killed and many more injured by auto accidents. On Friday’s blizzard, a fifty-vehicle collision shut down the Ohio Turnpike.
According to reports, other deaths caused by extreme cold and weather-induced car accidents have been reported in Missouri (TN), Kansas, Colorado and Colorado.
(The headline has been rewritten to eliminate any extraneous words.