Death toll from cold, storms rises to 27 in western New York

Buffalo, New York – The death toll from a snowstorm in the Buffalo area of ​​western New York rose to 27, authorities said Monday, as the region suffered one of the worst weather-related disasters in history.most rest of us Hit by the harsh winter.

Those who died near Buffalo were found in cars, houses and snowdrifts. Some died while shoveling snow, others died when emergency crews were unable to respond to the medical crisis in time. Rescue and recovery efforts were underway Monday after the storm killed at least 50 people across the country.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described the blizzard as “probably the worst storm of our lifetimes” and warned that more deaths were likely. He noted that some people were trapped in their cars for more than two days.

“This is a dire situation and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not over yet,” he said on Monday. Some areas could see an additional 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow as of Tuesday, the National Weather Service said on Monday.

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

Victor Gensini, a professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University, likens a single weather event to a “hitting ball” — and climate to your “batting average.”

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

Snowstorms swept through western New York on Friday and Saturday — stranded motorists, knocked out power and kept emergency crews from reaching residents trapped in frigid homes and cars.

With many grocery stores closed and driving bans in place in the Buffalo area, some have taken to social media to plead for food and diaper donations.

The snowy inclement weather tested a region accustomed to snow.

“It doesn’t matter 1,000 more devices, 10,000 more people, nothing can be done at that point. It’s just too bad,” said county official Poloncarz. “I know it’s hard for people to believe, but it’s like looking at a white wall for 14 to 18 hours straight.”

Ashton Robinson Cook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather will ease this week, though, as forecasts point to a slow rise in temperatures.

“It’s nothing like what we experienced last week,” Cook added. bomb whirlwind – when atmospheric pressure drops rapidly in a strong storm – has weakened. It developed near the Great Lakes, causing blizzards that included high winds and heavy snow.

The extreme weather stretches from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande on the border with Mexico. About 60 percent of the U.S. population is facing some kind of winter weather advisory or warning, with temperatures dropping sharply below normal from east of the Rockies to the Appalachians.

About 2,085 domestic and international flights were canceled on Monday as of around noon ET, according to tracking site FlightAware. Southwest has canceled 1,253 flights, nearly a third of its scheduled flights and about five times as many as other major U.S. airlines, the website said. An email to Southwest was not immediately returned, and the Dallas-based carrier has not updated the situation on its website since Saturday.

According to FlightAware, airports across the U.S. are suffering from cancellations and delays, including Denver, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago.

“This blizzard is the same. Of course, this is the blizzard of the century,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday after inspecting the aftermath in her hometown of Buffalo. Almost every fire truck was stuck there Saturday.

She noted that the storm came more than a month after the region was inundated with another “historic” snowfall. Between the storms, snowfall totals were not far off the 95.4 inches the region typically sees throughout the winter.

Snow totals at Buffalo Niagara International Airport were 49.2 inches (1.25 meters) at 10 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said. The airport will remain closed until Tuesday morning, officials said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown described the heartbreaking task of rescuing storm victims from cars, homes and streets.

“Our police are human. It’s painful to find out that a member of your community has died,” the mayor said, adding that snowstorm victims “tried to get out during the storm, got lost and died on the street. “

At a nearby home, Shahida Muhammad told wxya A power outage knocked off her 1-year-old son’s ventilator. She and the baby’s father breathed manually from Friday to Sunday as rescuers saw her desperate social media posts and came to help.

Erie County officials said they went to the family’s home Saturday but no one came. Mohammad said they were there, but thankfully her son is doing well despite the ordeal. She described him as a “fighter”.

The storm also caused power outages in communities from Maine to Seattle. The mid-Atlantic grid operator called on its 65 million customers to save energy amid the bitter cold Saturday.

Storm-related deaths have been reported across the country, from six motorists killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky to falls from river ice in Wisconsin and a deadly homeless camp fire in Kansas of a woman.

In Jackson, Mississippi, crews struggled Monday to get water through the capital’s troubled water system, authorities said. Many areas have no water or low water pressure.On Christmas Day, residents were told boil their drinking water Due to water pipes bursting in freezing temperatures.

“The problem has to be a major hole in the system that we haven’t identified yet,” the city said in a statement Monday. City officials said the problems affected “many areas” of Jackson, but did not say how many residents were without water.

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Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Associated Press reporter Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Fla.; Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles; Jonathan Mattise in Charleston, West Virginia; Ron Todd in Philadelphia; Charleston, West Virginia John Raby in Harrisburg, Pa.; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa.; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; and Wilson Ring in Stowe, Vermont, contributed to this report.

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