Frigid monster storm across US claims at least 34 lives

BUFFALO: Millions battled a deep freeze on Sunday to weather a winter storm that has killed at least 34 people across the US and is expected to claim more lives after trapped some residents in homes with heavy snowfall and knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
The storm’s range was almost unprecedented, stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the US population faces some winter weather advice or warning, and temperatures plummet below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to Appalachian, the National Weather Service said. know.
Weather problems for tourists are likely to continue, with hundreds of flights canceled and more likely after a bomb tornado – when atmospheric pressure drops very rapidly during a storm strong – grows near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions, including high winds and snow. About 1,707 domestic and international flights were canceled on Sunday, according to tracking site FlightAware.
The storm unleashed its full fury on Buffalo, with hurricane-force winds and snow causing power outages, crippling emergency response efforts. Governor of New York Kathy Hochul said almost every fire truck in the city was stuck on Saturday and urged people on Sunday to respect the ongoing driving ban in the area. Officials said the airport would be closed until Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service said the total amount of snow at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 109 centimeters on Sunday.
Daylight showed cars almost covered by six-foot sleds and thousands of houses, some decked out in low light. holiday screen, dark due to lack of power. As snow rolls down wild and impassable roads, forecasters warn that 1 to 2 more feet of snow could be expected in some areas through early Monday morning amid 40 gusts of wind. miles/hour. Police said Sunday night that there were two “separate” cases of looting during the storm.
Two people who died in upstate Cheektowaga, New York, returned home on Friday when emergency crews were unable to reach them in time to treat their medical conditions. County Executive Mark Poloncarz added 10 deaths in Erie County during the storm, including six in Buffalo, and warned there could be more deaths.
“Some were found in cars, some were found on the street in a pile of snow,” Poloncarz said. “We know of people who are stuck in traffic for more than two days.”
Freezing conditions and daily blackouts have left Buffalo residents scrambling to get anywhere with heat between what Hochul called the longest-lasting blizzard conditions ever in the city. But with the roads under a thick white blanket, that’s not an option for the likes of Jeremy Manahan, who has charged his phone in his parked car after nearly 29 hours without power.
“There was a warm shelter, but it was too far away for me. Obviously I couldn’t drive because I was stuck,” Manahan said. “And you can’t be outside for more than 10 minutes without freezing.”
Ditjak Ilunga of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was on her way to visit relatives in Hamilton, Ontario, because Christmas with his daughters on Friday when their SUV was stuck in Buffalo. Unable to get help, they spent hours with the engine running, blown away by the wind and nearly buried in the snow.
By 4 a.m. Saturday, with their fuel running low, Ilunga made the desperate choice of risking the roaring storm to a nearby shelter. He carries 6-year-old Destiny on his back while 16-year-old Cindy hugs their Pomeranian puppy, tracing his footsteps through the drifts.
“If I were in this car, I would die here with my children,” Ilunga recalls thinking. He cried when his family walked through the door of the shelter. “It’s something I’ll never forget in my life.”
The storm knocked out power in communities from Maine to Seattle. But heating and lighting are slowly being restored across the US According to, less than 200,000 customers lost power on Sunday, down from a peak of 1.7 million.
Concerns about rotating outages across eastern states eased on Sunday after PJM Interconnection said its utilities could handle peak electricity demand during the day. The mid-Atlantic grid operator urged its 65 million consumers to save energy amid Saturday’s freeze.
In North Carolina, less than 6,500 customers lost power – down from a peak of 485,000. Across New England, tens of thousands of people have been restored to power with just under 83,000, mostly in Maine, still without power. In New York, about 34,000 households remained without power on Sunday, including 26,000 in Erie County, where utility crews and hundreds of National Guard soldiers battled high winds and materials. versus being stuck in the snow.
Storm-related deaths have been reported in recent days across the country: 12 in Erie County, New York, between the ages of 26 and 93, and another in Niagara County, where a man 27 year old suffocated with carbon monoxide after snow blocked his furnace; 10 people in Ohio, including an electrician who was electrocuted and who died in multiple car crashes; six motorists were killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky; a Vermont woman was hit in the head by a falling tree branch; a seemingly homeless man was found among Colorado’s sub-zero temperatures; and a woman fell into the ice of the Wisconsin River.
In Jackson, Mississippi, city officials on Christmas Day announced that residents must now boil drinking water due to a burst line in the freezing temperatures.
In Buffalo, William Kless woke up at 3 a.m. Sunday. He called his three children to their mother’s house to wish them Merry Christmas and then set off in his sleigh for a second day to get people from stranded cars and cold homes. price to a church that acts as a warm shelter.
Through heavy snow and strong winds, he said, he brought about 15 people to the church in Buffalo on Saturday, including a family of five who were transported one by one. He also has a man in need of dialysis, who spent 17 hours stuck in his car, back home, where he could be treated.
“I just felt like I had to,” Kless said.


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