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Death toll from winter storm in New York rises to 34 with more snow on the way | Weather in the United States

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like buffalo, New YorkReeling from a historic winter storm that left at least 34 people dead, first responders tasked with the grim task of searching for more victims battled snowdrifts and sub-freezing temperatures.

“We’ve had so many bodies that various hospitals are full and we just need to go through and determine if the individuals died a blizzard-related death,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told CNN.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters he expected more bodies to be found as the snow moved. Buffalo police had about 1,000 outstanding 911 calls, though some may be duplicates, he said.

Police affixed yellow crime scene tape to the side mirrors of abandoned vehicles after they were checked for deaths.

“It’s painstaking and exhausting work,” Gramaglia said.

For many residents, immediate relief remained out of sight. Driving bans remained and many grocery stores were closed.

Adding to the misery, after 4 feet of snow fell over Christmas, another 7.3 inches fell on Monday, bringing totals for the season to over 100 inches.

Bob Oravec, a National Weather Service (NWS) forecaster, said, “Any additional snowfall Buffalo may have will have an impact.”

Late Monday, Poloncarz said the storm was “probably the worst storm of our lifetimes,” even for an area used to heavy snowfall off the Great Lakes.

Of the deaths attributed to the storm, three people were found dead in their vehicles, four died without heating in their homes, three died of cardiac events related to stampedes or other snow clearing, and three died after the delay of emergency services.

“They were found in different ways,” a spokesman for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told The New York Times. “They were found in broken down vehicles, they were found on sidewalks, near street corners, some were found in snow banks.”

Emergency crews work to restore power in Buffalo, New York.
Emergency crews work to restore power in Buffalo, New York. Photograph: Joed Viera/AFP/Getty Images

One victim, Anndel Taylor, 22, died after being trapped in her car for 18 hours during which she allegedly exchanged videos with her sisters in North Carolina, the New York Post reported. In the latest video, Taylor rolled down a window to show a van that was also trapped.

“We certainly don’t blame the people who were driving,” Brown said Tuesday when asked about possible lapses in emergency response.

“Our goal was to rescue everyone, to respond to every call – but driving through a blizzard, in zero visibility and whiteout conditions, as you might assume, made emergency response much more difficult and much more complicated.”

Stories of hardship were common. Shahida Muhammad told WKBW that a blackout knocked out power to the fan used by her one-year-old son. She and the child’s father manually administered breaths from Friday to Sunday when rescuers saw her social media posts. Muhammad said his son was doing well despite the ordeal.

Melissa Carrick, a doula, said the blizzard forced her to accompany a client through the birth over the phone. An ambulance crew eventually transported the woman to a hospital about 45 minutes south of Buffalo, as no closer hospital was accessible.

In any other normal Buffalo storm? I would just go because that’s what you do – just drive in the snow,” Carrick said. “But you knew it was different.”

Buffalo’s mayor warned residents who thought they were driving they would still be stuck there. Many streets in the city of Buffalo are still impassable.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters, “This blizzard is one for the ages. Admittedly, it is the blizzard of the century.

Hochul also noted that the storm came just over a month after a “historic” first snowfall, and said the White House had promised a federal declaration of emergency for Erie and Genesee counties. , making help available. Joe Biden said his prayers are with the families of the victims. The two Democratic senators from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, scored a “unique blizzard”.

Scientists said climate change may have contributed to the intensity of the storm. That’s because the atmosphere can carry more water vapor, which acts as fuel, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“It’s hard to say,” Serreze said. But are the dice a bit loaded now? Absolutely.”

Relief was coming, as forecasts predicted that temperatures would rise. The NWS said it expected more snow Tuesday morning, followed by temperatures above freezing.

“Warming with melting snow could lead to minor flooding, depending on how much rain falls this weekend,” he warned.

A person clears snowy roads with a backhoe loader.
A person clears snowy roads with a backhoe loader. Photography: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ashton Robinson Cook, an NWS meteorologist, said the bomb cyclone – when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly during a strong storm – that caused the huge US storm was now weakened.

In the United States, thousands of domestic and international flights were canceled on Monday. The FlightAware website said Southwest Airlines had 2,497 cancellations, about 60% of scheduled flights, about 10 times more than any other major US carrier.

The US Department of Transportation said it would review Southwestern cancellations that have left travelers stranded across the country.

According to data from FlightAware, airports across the United States suffered cancellations and delays, including Denver, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago. Buffalo Niagara International Airport was scheduled to be closed until Wednesday.

The storm knocked out power from Maine to Seattle. Deaths related to the storm have been reported across the country, including at least eight killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky. A woman fell through a river ice in Wisconsin and a fatal fire broke out at a homeless camp in Kansas.

In Jackson, Mississippi, crews struggled to get water through the beleaguered water system, authorities said. Many areas had no water or low pressure. On Christmas Day, residents were told to boil drinking water due to water pipes bursting from the cold.

“The problem must be significant leaks in the system that we have not yet identified,” the city said Monday.

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