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‘Blizzard of the century’ leaves nearly 50 dead across US


BUFFALO: Emergency crews in New York on Monday were working to rescue abandoned residents from what authorities called the “snowstorm of the century,” a relentless storm that has killed nearly 50 people. network across the United States and caused chaos in Christmas travel.
According to official figures, blizzard conditions persisted in parts of the Northeastern United States, the stubborn remnants of a spell of severe weather that lasted for days across the country, causing widespread power outages, travel delays and at least 49 deaths across nine states.
In New York state, authorities described extreme conditions, particularly in Buffalo, with power outages lasting hours, bodies being discovered in vehicles and under snowbanks, and paramedics go “car-by-car” looking for more car drivers – dead or alive.
Violent snowstorms, howling winds and sub-zero temperatures have caused more than 15,000 flights in the US to be canceled in recent days, including more than 3,800 on Monday, according to tracking website Flightaware.com.
Buffalo — a city in Erie County that’s no stranger to extreme winter weather — is at the heart of the crisis, buried under an incredible amount of snow.
“It’s definitely the blizzard of the century,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters, adding that “it’s too early to say it’s done.”
Hochul said several towns west of New York were covered with “30 to 40 inches (0.75 to 1 meter) of snow overnight.”
Late on Monday, Hochul spoke to the President Joe Bidenwho asked “the full force of the federal government” to support New York state, and said he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for those who lost loved ones in the hurricane, according to a statement. father of the White House.
The National Weather Service forecast a possible 14 inches on Monday beyond the few feet that have left the city buried in snow, with officials trying to get emergency services back online.
Erie County CEO Mark Poloncarz tweeted Monday afternoon that the death toll related to the blizzard had risen to 27 countywide, including 14 people found outside and 3 discovered inside car.
Speaking at a news conference earlier in the day, Poloncarz said the death toll in Erie would likely surpass that of the infamous 1977 Buffalo blizzard, when nearly 30 people were killed.
With more snow forecast and much of Buffalo “impassable”, he joined Hochul in warning residents to go underground and stay in place.
National Guard members and other teams have rescued hundreds of people from snow-covered cars and homes without electricity, but authorities say many are still trapped.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the storm “the worst” he had ever seen, with periods of zero visibility and authorities unable to respond to emergency calls.
He told CNN: “It’s heartbreaking when you get calls saying families are with their kids and they say they’re freezing to death.
Hochul, a native of Buffalo, said she was stunned by what she saw during a tour of the city.
“It was (like) going to a war zone, and the vehicles along the sides of the road were amazing,” Hochul said, describing flash floods eight feet (2.4 meters) high into houses. houses as well as snow plows and “buried” rescue vehicles. “in the snow.
“This is a fight with mother nature,” she said.
Severe weather brought temperatures below freezing in all 48 contiguous US states over the weekend, including communities in Texas along the Mexican border where some of the newly arrived migrants struggled to find shelter.
At one point on Saturday, nearly 1.7 million customers were without power in the flesh-and-blood cold, tracking poweroutage.us.
That number has dropped significantly, although there are still about 50,000 without power as of midday Monday on the east coast of the United States.
Due to frozen substations, some Erie County residents are not expected to have power back until Tuesday, with one substation reported to be buried under 18 feet of snow, a senior county official said.
Buffalo’s international airport remains closed through Tuesday, and the driving ban remains in effect for the city and much of Erie County.
Frozen roads and power outages also led to the temporary closure of some of the nation’s busiest transit routes, including part of Interstate 70.
Drivers have been warned not to take to the streets – even as the country reaches its busiest travel time of the year.

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