Toll from storms that have chilled most of the United States for days rises after a deadly blizzard halted Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Day, trapping motorists and rescue workers in their vehicles, leaving thousands of households without electricity, and boosting the death toll.
Since a deep chill swept most of the nation on Friday, along with snow, ice, and howling winds from a vast storm that roared out of the Great Lakes region, at least 30 people have perished in the United States due to weather-related accidents, according to a tally by NBC News.
Numerous fatalities have been reported in and around Buffalo, New York, on the western shore of Lake Erie, due to the bone-chilling cold and persistent “lake-effect” snow, which is caused by cold air flowing over warmer lake waters.
On Sunday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz claimed that 13 people had died due to the storm, up from the three recorded the night before in the Buffalo area. Poloncarz said some of the most recent deaths were discovered in vehicles and others in snowbanks and that the death toll was sure to grow.
Poloncarz tweeted on Sunday, “This is not the Christmas any of us hoped for nor expected.” Sincere sympathy to those who have lost dear ones. The New York governor, Kathy Hochul, described the storm as “epic, once-in-a-lifetime,” adding that it was the worst winter storm to hit the Buffalo area since a blizzard in 1977 that killed nearly 30 people.
Hochul said during a news conference that the present storm was likely to be remembered as “the blizzard of ’22” since it had eclipsed the previous battery in terms of intensity, duration, and fury of its winds.
The Rescue Of The Rescuers
Nearly six weeks have passed since a record-setting, but the brief lake-effect storm hit western New York, prompting this new snowfall. Poloncarz reported that hundreds of travelers were trapped over the weekend in Erie County despite the prohibition on road travel that had been in effect since Friday due to white-out conditions and drifting snow. National Guard forces were called in to help with rescues.
He told reporters that several snow plows and other equipment dispatched on Saturday and Sunday became trapped in the snow and that rescue missions were sent to free the rescuers. The Buffalo Police Department has issued an online request for the public’s help in search-and-recovery efforts, directing individuals who “have a snowmobile and are ready to help” to a hotline for further information.
Even for a location that often experiences severe winter weather, the intensity of the storm was remarkable. North Buffalo homeowner Christina Klaffka, age 39, heard her windows rattle and saw her neighbor’s shingles blow off their house due to “hurricane-like gusts.” There was a neighborhood-wide blackout on Saturday night, and her house was among those still without power on Sunday morning.
“While trying to watch the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears game, my TV began jerking and freezing up. The electricity went out right after the third quarter, “the woman declared.
Retiree John Burns, 58, from North Buffalo, said he and his family spent 36 hours inside due to the “mean and nasty” storm and extreme cold. “Nobody was around. There were no dog owners out and around, “His words. For two days, “nothing was happening.”
Strong gusts had made it difficult to measure the snow that had fallen between houses. Still, they had blown together to create a 5-foot (1.5-meter) drift “in front of my garage,” making it difficult to estimate the overall accumulation.
Reporters heard from Hochul on Sunday, and she said that the Biden administration would back their request for a federal disaster declaration. Hochul said that about 200 members of the National Guard had been called into service in western New York to assist police and fire crews, do health checks, and deliver supplies to shelters.
Rapid Electricity Attacked
On Sunday, the storm system was moving eastward after it had caused power disruptions for as many as 1.5 million users late last week. It caused thousands of commercial flights to be canceled during the peak holiday travel period.
PowerOutage.us reported that over 150,000 buildings in the United States remained without electricity on Sunday, a significant decrease from the early Saturday figure of 1.8 million. According to Poloncarz, 15,000 people in Buffalo were still without power as of Sunday evening.
According to him, utility workers arrived to find an entire electrical substation frozen solid because it had been cut off by a snowdrift 18 feet high. Temperatures on Christmas Day began to rise from the widespread near-zero readings of the previous day. Still, they remained well below average across the central and eastern United States and below freezing even as far south as the Gulf Coast, according to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Rich Otto.
According to the most recent NWS calculation, the Buffalo airport had received over 4 feet of snow by Sunday. White-out conditions persisted south of Buffalo well into the afternoon as ongoing squalls deposited 2-3 inches of snow each hour.
Officials in Kentucky have reported three storm-related deaths since Friday, while in Ohio, where a 50-vehicle pileup shut down the Ohio Turnpike during a blizzard on Friday, at least four people were killed and numerous injured in auto-related accidents. Reports also indicate that people in Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas, and Colorado have lost their lives due to excessive cold or weather-related car accidents.
Our article is excellent; I hope you agree. In that case, we’d love to hear your sage advice in the space below. To stay on top of these developments, bookmark Journalistpr.com.