Severe snowstorm kills 7 in Buffalo through Sunday; more flights canceled


Officials in Erie County, N.Y., reported four more deaths Sunday from the catastrophic snowstorm that wreaked havoc across much of the country, bringing the known death toll in the hardest-hit Buffalo area to seven .

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the dead were found at home and on the street, and warned that more deaths could be found later. The name of the deceased was not released.

Heavy snow, high winds and snowy weather cripple Buffalo despite city With plenty of winter equipment and experience with heavy snow, officials say the disaster could become the worst in the region’s history. More than 27,000 homes in Erie County were still without power early Sunday, officials said.

PHOTOS: Winter storm sparks severe weather across US

Crews were battling frozen substations that required specialized equipment for repairs as snow moved southward and winds eased Sunday, officials said in a briefing. Some first responders were in need during the storm, and two heating centers were closed after losing power. An operations center handling 911 calls almost had to shut down after its fire suppression system ruptured, causing flooding.

Poloncarz said staff arrived at the residence where a 1-year-old baby was reportedly on ventilator support, but found no one there and could not contact the family member.

“It’s bad, that’s the best way to put it. It’s the worst that anyone has ever seen,” Poloncarz said, adding that he has been in touch with the Biden administration as well as New York’s governor. Kathy Hochul (D) on getting additional resources. “This is a blizzard that will never be forgotten because of its ferocity.”

Speaking to reporters late Sunday morning, Hochul said National Guard members were on the ground in the hardest-hit areas of Erie County, with more on the way to help doctors and nurses reach hospitals and rescue those trapped in their vehicles. people.

“It’s a war against nature, and she’s been hitting us with everything she’s got,” said the governor, who was Erie County’s clerk from 2007 to 2011. It’s in the middle.

Why this snowstorm could be the worst in Buffalo history

The Arctic airstream continues to cool much of the eastern United States, but is expected to weaken as it moves eastward, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 175,000 utility customers nationwide remained without power as of Sunday morning, down from at least 1.5 million on Friday, according to The storm disrupted traffic and travel plans over the Christmas holiday season, with more than 1,400 U.S. flights canceled as of Sunday morning and more than 3,488 on Saturday, according to Flight Aware.

In Erie County, where a driving ban remains in place, officials are urging residents to keep their water supplies flowing before pipes freeze. Officials said the area was accustomed to shoveling snow under such conditions, with several feet of snow accumulated in 48 hours. But in this blizzard, on top of frigid temperatures, wind gusts approaching 80 mph caused dangerous drifts and snowy conditions that blinded drivers.

“It’s like putting a blank sheet of paper in front of you and leaving it there for hours and hours,” Poloncarz said.

He implored county employees who have been home for the past two days to come to work and relieve their weary colleagues.

“This is not the Christmas we wanted,” he said. “It’s going to be a Christmas we remember.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

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