Blizzard kills 13 in Buffalo, N.Y., area
Buffalo, New York, where 43 inches of snow fell as of Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall and blizzard conditions made roads impassable, froze power substations and left more than a dozen people dead, Erie County officials said.
Dec 25 (Reuters) – A lethal blizzard paralyzed Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Day, trapping motorists and rescue workers in their vehicles, leaving thousands of homes without power and raising the death toll from storms that have chilled much of the United States for days.
At least 30 people have died in U.S. weather-related incidents, according to an NBC News tally, since a deep freeze gripped most of the nation, coupled with snow, ice and howling winds from a sprawling storm that roared out of the Great Lakes region on Friday.
Much of the loss of life has centered in and around Buffalo at the edge of Lake Erie in western New York, as numbing cold and heavy “lake-effect” snow – the result of frigid air moving over warmer lake waters – persisted through the holiday weekend.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the storm’s confirmed death toll climbed to 13 on Sunday, up from three reported overnight in the Buffalo region. The latest victims included some found in cars and some in snow banks, Poloncarz said, adding that the death tally would likely rise further.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called it an “epic, once-in-a-lifetime” weather disaster that ranked as the fiercest winter storm to hit the greater Buffalo area since a crippling 1977 blizzard that killed nearly 30 people.
“We have now surpassed the scale of that storm, in its intensity, the longevity, the ferocity of its winds,” Hochul told an evening news conference, adding that the current storm would likely to go down in history as “the blizzard of ’22.”
Christina Klaffka, 39, a North Buffalo resident, watched the shingles blow off her neighbor’s home and listened to her windows rattle from “hurricane-like winds.” She lost power along with her whole neighborhood on Saturday evening, and was still without electricity on Sunday morning.
“My TV kept flickering while I was trying to watch the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears game. I lost power shortly after the 3rd quarter,” she said.
John Burns, 58, a retiree in North Buffalo, said he and his family were trapped in their house for 36 hours by the storm and extreme cold that he called “mean and nasty.”