Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) — State troopers and military police officers were deployed Tuesday to prevent people from entering Buffalo’s snow-covered roads, as officials have been counting deaths three days after the deadliest storm in at least two generations in Western New York number of people.
Even with the reopening of suburban roads and most major highways in the region, Erie County Executive Mark Polonkaz warned that police will be stationed at entrances and major intersections in Buffalo as some drivers ignore the traffic in New York’s second most populous city. Prohibition of driving in large cities.
More than 30 deaths were reported in the area, officials said, including seven deaths from the storm that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s office announced Tuesday. The death toll surpassed the historic snowstorm of 1977, which was blamed for killing as many as 29 people in a region known for harsh winters.
Greg Monett took to social media to ask for help shoveling 6 feet of snow from the end of his Buffalo driveway so he could get dialysis on Tuesday.
“It’s been a nightmare,” he said in an interview on Monday. He said his family had been without power for a while, so relatives kept warm with a gas stove, a practice he acknowledged was dangerous.
“We have to do what we have to do,” said Monette, 43, “and we’re going to freeze to death here.”
When his blood sugar dropped dangerously low and he nearly passed out Sunday night, his relatives called 911, but they were told it would take hours to get home, Monette said. He eventually recovered on his own.
Emergency calls could not be responded to at the time, officials said at a news conference.
Sister Maria Monet said Monet ended up on dialysis after rolling over the snow and asking neighbors to help him dig up his buried vehicle.
The Facebook group, originally created in 2014 when Buffalo was buried deep in the snow, has become a lifeline to help thousands of people seek food, medicine, shelter and rescue during the latest storm. Currently run by five women, the group had swelled to at least 68,000 people as of Tuesday.
“We’ve seen a lot of desperation,” Erin Aquilinia, founder of the original group, said in an online interview.
The National Weather Service predicted that Erie County, which includes Buffalo and its 275,000 residents, could see up to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) of snow on Tuesday. County Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth Jr. said officials also had some concerns about possible flooding later in the week when the snow starts to melt as the weather turns warmer.
The rest of the country was also affected, with at least 20 people killed by the storm elsewhere across the country and communities from Maine to Washington state without power.
On the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Reservation in South Dakota, the tribe said it sent snowmobiles to residents Tuesday after delivering food boxes by helicopter and truck over the weekend. Ohio officials assessed water damage at the state capitol after a pipe burst during the freezing weather.
Even in central Florida, temperatures dropped to 27 degrees (minus 2.7 degrees Celsius) over the weekend. Grower groups breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after seeing no widespread damage to the fruit and vegetable crops that provide fresh winter produce for much of the United States.
In Buffalo, the dead were found in cars, houses and snowdrifts. Some died while shoveling snow, others died when first responders were unable to respond to the medical crisis in time. Democrat Poloncarz called the blizzard “probably the worst storm of our lifetimes,” even in an area known for its heavy snowfall. More bodies are expected to be found as the snow clears or melts.
Winter winds have left some stranded in their cars for days, closed the city’s airport and left some residents shivering without heat. More than 4,000 homes and businesses were still without power late Tuesday morning.
President Joe Biden extended federal aid to New York on Monday, allowing some compensation for storm relief efforts. Gov. Kathy Hochul inspected the aftermath in her hometown of Buffalo and called the snowstorm “one of a kind.” Nearly every fire truck in the city was stranded Saturday, she said.
Hochul, a Democrat, noted that the storm came more than a month after another historic snowfall inundated the region. Between the storms, snowfall totals were not far off the 95.4 inches (242 centimeters) 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 Wednesday morning, officials said.
About 3,000 U.S. domestic and international flights had been canceled as of about 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to tracking site FlightAware.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said it would investigate Southwest Airlines flight cancellations that left passengers stranded at airports across the country during the winter storm. Many airlines have been forced to cancel flights, but Southwest Airlines is leading the charge so far.
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