Snowstorm kills 13 people in Buffalo, NY area, as frozen Christmas Day blankets America. According to Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman walks her dog in a local park in Hoboken, New Jersey, while storm clouds pass over One World Trade Center in New York, U.S., December 23, 2022 REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz
By Gabriella Borter and Ahmed Aboulenein
(Reuters) – A deadly blizzard crippled Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Day, trapping motorists and rescue workers in their cars, leaving thousands of homes without power. and increased the death toll from hurricanes that chilled much of the United States for days.
At least 30 people have died in weather-related incidents in the United States since a deep freeze covered most of the country, along with snow, ice and howling winds from NBC News, according to NBC News. A violent storm made landfall from the Great Lakes region. on Friday.
CNN reported a total of 26 weather deaths.
Much of the human loss was concentrated in and around Buffalo on the edge of Lake Erie in western New York, due to cold and thick “lake effect” snow – the result of cold air moving over warmer lake waters – extended throughout the holiday weekend.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the number of confirmed deaths in the storm rose to 13 on Sunday, up from three reported overnight in the Buffalo area. Poloncarz said the latest victims include some people found in cars and some in snowdrifts, adding that the death toll is likely to rise even higher.
“This is not the Christmas any of us hoped or expected,” Poloncarz wrote on Twitter Sunday. “My deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called it a “terrible, once-in-a-lifetime” weather disaster, ranking it as the most intense winter storm to hit the greater Buffalo area since a devastating snowstorm. In 1977, nearly 30 people were killed.
“We have now surpassed the scale of that storm, in terms of its intensity, duration, intense winds,” Hochul said at an evening news conference, adding that the storm is currently will probably go down in history as “the blizzard of ’22.”
SAVING THE SURVIVAL PEOPLE
The latest blizzard comes nearly six weeks after a record-setting but shorter-lived lake-effect storm hit western New York.
Despite the road travel ban in place since Friday, hundreds of motorists in Erie County were trapped in their vehicles over the weekend, with National Guard forces called in, Poloncarz said. arrived to help with a rescue hampered by power outages and drifting snow.
He told reporters that many of the snow shovels and other equipment that were sent in on Saturday and Sunday were stuck in the snow, “and we had to send out rescue missions to rescue the rescuers.” “.
The Buffalo Police Department posted an online plea to the public for assistance in search and recovery efforts, asking those “with snowmobiles and willing to help” to call the hotline to guided.
The severity of the storm was remarkable even for an area accustomed to severe winter weather.
Christina Klaffka, 39, of North Buffalo, witnessed shingles being blown off a neighbor’s house and listened to her window shake from “storm-like winds”. She lost power along with her entire neighborhood on Saturday night, and remained without power on Sunday morning.
“My TV kept flickering while I was trying to watch the Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears game. I lost power shortly after the third round,” she said.
John Burns, 58, a North Buffalo retiree, said he and his family were trapped inside their home for 36 hours due to the storm and extreme cold, which he called “bad and bad”.
“Nobody went out. Nobody even walked the dog,” he said. “There’s been no work for two days.”
Total snowfall, he added, is difficult to measure because fierce winds reduce the amount of snow that accumulates between houses, but piles up 5 feet (1.5 meters) high “in front of my garage.”
Hochul told reporters on Sunday that the Biden administration had agreed to back her request for a federal disaster declaration.
Hochul said about 200 National Guard troops were mobilized in western New York to help police and fire crews, conduct health checks and bring supplies to shelters.
ELECTRICAL HIT HARD
The larger storm system moved east on Sunday, after knocking out power to 1.5 million customers during peak power outages last weekend and forcing thousands of commercial flights to be canceled for a period of time. Busy travel time of the holiday season.
According to PowerOutage.us, more than 150,000 homes and businesses in the US lost power on Sunday, down sharply from 1.8 million without power early Saturday. In Buffalo, 15,000 residents remained without power Sunday night, Poloncarz said.
He said a damaged electrical substation was blocked off by an 18-foot pile of snow, and utility crews found the entire facility frozen inside.
Christmas Day temperatures, while starting to rise again from near-zero levels common on Saturday, remain below average across the central and eastern US, and below freezing even as far as south like the Gulf Coast, says National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist rich Otto.
According to the latest NWS tally, nearly 4 feet of snow was measured at Buffalo airport on Sunday, with power outages lingering south of Buffalo through late afternoon as high winds continued to fall 2- 3 inches of snow per hour.
In Kentucky, officials confirmed three hurricane-related deaths as of Friday, while at least four people were killed and several injured in auto accidents in Ohio. where a pile of 50 vehicles shut down the Ohio Turnpike during a blizzard on Friday.
Other deaths related to vehicle crashes due to extreme cold or extreme weather have been reported in Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas and Colorado, according to news reports.