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Dozens dead in US in storm dubbed ‘blizzard of the century’


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U.S. emergency crews have calculated the dire cost of a massive winter storm that has brought Christmas chaos to millions, especially in western New York, which has been affected hit hard by the death toll reaching 25 on Monday, what authorities describe as a “war with mother nature.”

Snow storm conditions continue to prevail in parts of WE Northeast, stubborn remnants of a vast extremism weather including a severe cold spell that has blanketed the country for days, causing widespread power outages, halting travel and at least 47 deaths nationwide.

Severe weather forced the cancellation of more than 15,000 flights in recent days, including more than 1,700 on Monday, according to Flightaware.com.

The state governor “It’s definitely the blizzard of the century,” said Kathy Hochul, who warned that dangerous snow, wind and frigid temperatures were far from over.

She added that “it’s too early to say this is done,” with more snow forecast for Monday and some communities inundated with more than three feet (one meter) of snow just after. one night.


Late Monday, Hochul spoke with President Joe Biden, who has offered “the full force of the federal government” to support New York state, and said he and First Lady Jill Biden are pray for those who lost loved ones in the storm. White House statement.

Buffalo – a US city no stranger to severe winter weather – has been buried under a staggering amount of snow, with the National Weather Service forecast up to 14 inches (0.35 meters) ) on Monday next to a few feet left the city to marry, with the virtual collapse of emergency services.

Gamaliel Vega tries to pull out his car after getting stuck in a snowdrift during a blizzard in Buffalo, New York, on December 24, 2022.
Gamaliel Vega tries to pull out his car after getting stuck in a snowdrift during a blizzard in Buffalo, New York, on December 24, 2022. © Derek Gee, AP

The blizzard stubbornly refused to release its grip in the west New York‘s Erie County, where Buffalo is located and has become the epicenter of the crisis.

More snow forecast

“In addition to the 13 confirmed deaths yesterday, the Erie County Health Department medical examiner’s office confirmed 12 more deaths, bringing the total number of blizzard deaths to 25 per year. countywide,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference. .

Fierce weather makes this “worst storm perhaps in our lifetime and the history of the city,” Poloncarz said, noting that the death toll in Erie will 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 warned residents to get into shelters and stay in place.

“This isn’t the end, we’re not there yet,” he said.

A snow plow is stuck on the road in Amherst, New York, after a winter storm made landfall in the Buffalo region, December 25, 2022.
A snow plow is stuck on the road in Amherst, New York, after a winter storm made landfall in the Buffalo region, December 25, 2022. © Brendan McDermid, Reuters

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.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo, said she was stunned by what she saw during a tour of the city on Sunday.

“It’s (like) going to a war zone, and the vehicles along both sides of the road are amazing,” Hochul said, describing the eight-foot (2.4-meter) thick layer of snow that had poured into the houses. and how life-threatening power outages are. condition.

“This is a fight with mother nature,” she said.

Severe weather sent wind chill temperatures in all 48 contiguous US states below freezing over the weekend.

Sweeping power failure

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 Monday morning 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.

A motorist observes crashing waves during high tide during a winter storm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S., December 23, 2022.
A motorist observes crashing waves during high tide during a winter storm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S., December 23, 2022. © Brian Snyder, Reuters

Officials have described historically dangerous conditions in the frequently snowy Buffalo region, with power outages lasting for hours and bodies being discovered in vehicles and under snowbanks. Emergency workers continue the difficult search for those in need of rescue.

The city’s international airport remains closed through Tuesday, and the driving ban remains in effect for Buffalo 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 typically busiest time of year for commuting.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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