Winter storm kills at least 37 across the country as residents in Western New York remain trapped under snow


As a massive winter storm continues to batter much of the U.S. with brutal winter weather — killing at least 37 people across the country — parts of western New York were buried under up to 43 inches of snow, stranded vehicles and killed thousands power failure. Christmas weekend.

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul told CNN the storm was “the most destructive storm in Buffalo’s long history.”At least 17 people were killed across the state as heavy snow and blizzards left roads impassable, with zero visibility and frozen substations As of Sunday night died.

Western New York is drowning in thick “lake effect” snowpack — formed when cold air moves over the warm waters of the Great Lakes — just a month after the region was hit by a historic snowstorm.

Rescuers and hundreds of plow truck drivers dispersed on Christmas Day, and even the emergency and rescue vehicles that dispatched the rescue were stuck in the snow. Eleven abandoned ambulances were dug up Sunday, officials said.

“We had to send out dedicated rescuers to find rescuers,” Executive Mark Polonkaz of Erie County, which includes Buffalo, told CNN on Monday, adding that it was as far as he could remember. worst storm ever. “It was horrific, and it was horrific for 24 hours straight.”

“We’re used to snow here, we can handle it,” he said. “But with the wind, the dizzying scenery – complete whiteout – and the extreme cold, it’s one of the worst conditions any of us have ever seen.”

Poloncarz said Sunday that many of New York’s weather-related deaths have occurred in Erie County, where some people were found dead in cars and in snowdrifts on the streets. A statement from Buffalo police wrote that the deaths reported in Buffalo were “individuals found outside and in their vehicles.”

Hundreds of National Guard soldiers have been deployed to assist with relief efforts in New York. The governor said state police had been involved in more than 500 rescues as of Sunday, including delivering babies and helping a man with 4 percent of his mechanical heart remaining.

“We’re still in the throes of this very life-threatening, very dangerous situation,” Hochul said. Residents are urged to stay off the road as a driving ban in Erie County continues through Monday.

A man clears snow from his home in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022.

“Our state and county plows have been there, non-stop, giving up time, putting themselves at risk, driving through blinding snowstorms to clear roads,” Hochul said.

Describing dire conditions on the roads, Poloncarz said about 500 motorists found themselves trapped in their vehicles between Friday night and Saturday morning as the snowstorm swept through the region.

“Think of staring at a patch of white a few feet in front of you for 24+ hours straight. That’s what it looks like outside in the worst conditions,” he said. “It was a constant blizzard and white snow that no one could see where they were going. No one knew what was going on.”

While abandoned vehicles littered the snow-covered roads — there are still hundreds of cars on the streets of Buffalo — conditions inside homes were also difficult.

Hochul told a news conference that some residents had been confined to their homes for the past 56 hours and some were without power in the freezing cold.It’s not because of a lack of resources, the governor says, but because Mobility and Access Challenges for Utilities.

Snow covers a neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 25, 2022.

As of Sunday night, 94.5 percent of Erie County residents and 87 percent of Buffalo residents had power restored, Hochul said.

Poloncarz said 12,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Erie County Sunday night, and many would not have their lights and heat restored until Tuesday.

Snow and cold temperatures will continue Monday in Buffalo, with a daytime high of 23 degrees and an overnight low of 21 degrees expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The protracted winter storm blanketed swaths of the United States with dangerously low temperatures and windy winds, bringing widespread power outages and the cancellation of thousands of flights over the past week.

More than 10 million people in the South remained under freeze alert Monday, including residents of Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham.

Below-freezing temperatures are expected in affected areas, where temperatures in the teens and mid-teens could kill crops and damage pipes. Most of those alerts are set to expire Monday morning as temperatures in the polar air finally begin to return.

About 65,000 customers across the country were without power early Monday, according to PowerOutage.US. The number of customers without power has at times exceeded 1 million since the storm began.

Electricity wasn’t the only utility affected: Jackson, Mississippi issued a boiling water notice on Sunday after its water system lost pressure due to a “possibly weather-induced” outage, officials said on Facebook. The city – which had just overcome a long-running water crisis just two months ago – distributed water to residents throughout the Christmas period.

The storm also affected U.S. travel during the busy holiday weekend, canceling more than 5,000 flights on Friday, 3,400 on Saturday and 3,100 on Christmas Day. By 8:30 a.m. ET Monday, more than 1,500 flights within, in and out of the U.S. had been canceled, according to tracking site FlightAware.

Multiple storm-related deaths have been reported in several states since the severe weather arrived. In addition to the deaths in New York, the death toll includes:

ColoradoPolice in Colorado Springs, Colo., report two cold-related deaths since Thursday, with a man found near an electrical transformer in a building he may have sought to heat and another The men are in the camp in the alley.

Kansas: Three people died in a weather-related crash, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.

Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, including one in a car crash in Montgomery County, officials said.

Missouri: One person died after a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek, Kansas City police say.

OhioNine people died in weather-related crashes, including one Saturday morning on Interstate 75 when a semi-tractor trailer crossed the center line and collided with an SUV and a pickup, authorities said .

Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed one death related to the storm on Friday.

the state of WisconsinWASHINGTON: The Wisconsin State Patrol reported a fatal car crash Thursday caused by winter weather.

High winds and snow covered streets and vehicles in Buffalo on Sunday, December 25, 2022.

The strong system continues to move away from the northeast, but many towns are still covered in thick snow. Over a 24-hour period, 42.8 inches of snow fell in Baraga, Michigan, and 34.2 inches fell in Watertown, New York.

Grand Rapids, Michigan had its snowiest Christmas Eve ever recorded with a record 10.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Winter storm warnings for Buffalo, Jamestown and Watertown in New York remain in effect and will expire for the next few days. Forecasts show Jamestown could see another 8 inches of snow, Buffalo could see another 14 inches and Watertown could see another 3 feet. Winds of up to 40 miles per hour are also possible.

A lake effect snow warning is in effect north of Jamestown until 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, with the area Up to 18 inches.

The lingering lake-effect snowfall, blowing downwind from the Great Lakes, will slowly become less intense, but the arctic air enveloping much of the eastern United States will be slow to moderate, according to the National Weather Service.

Lake effect snowfall will continue to create hazardous travel conditions over the next few days, with conditions expected to slowly improve over the course of the week.

The low-pressure system is expected to move further into Canada, while another system will move rapidly across the northern U.S. into Monday, bringing snow from the northern Plains to the Midwest.

Much of the rest of the eastern part of the country will remain bitterly cold on Monday before easing on Tuesday, forecasters said.

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