The deep freeze from a deadly winter storm that battered much of the United States will continue through the week as people in western New York grapple with massive snowdrifts that entangled emergency vehicles and travelers from across the country in canceled flights and dangerous roads.
The massive storm has killed at least 46 people in the United States, as reported by NBC News, and is feared to claim more lives after trapping some residents inside homes and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
The North American news chain confirmed that the deaths were registered in 12 states: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The Extreme weather stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande River along the Mexican border. About 60% of the US population faced some sort of winter weather watch or warning, with temperatures dropping dramatically below normal from the Rocky Mountains east to the Appalachians.
The National Weather Service said Sunday that frigid Arctic air “enveloping much of the eastern half of the United States will be slow to moderate.”
That’s especially grim news for Buffalo, which saw hurricane-force winds and snow that caused blowout conditions that crippled emergency response efforts.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said nearly all of the city’s fire trucks were stranded Saturday and implored people Sunday to respect the driving ban current in the region. Authorities said the airport It would closed until Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service said the snow total at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 43 inches (109 centimeters) as of 7 am Sunday.
Huge snowdrifts almost covered cars and there were thousands of houses, some adorned with festive displays without lighting, dark from lack of power.
With snow swirling on virgin and impassable streets, forecasters warned an additional 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) was possible in some areas through early Monday amid 40 mph (64 kph) wind gusts. ). Police said late Sunday that there were two “isolated” cases of looting during the storm.
two people died Friday at their homes in the suburbs of Cheektowaga, New York, when emergency crews were unable to arrive in time to treat their medical conditions. The executive of erie countyMark Poloncarz, said that 10 more people died there during the storm, including six in buffaloand warned that there could be more deaths.
“Some were found in cars, others on the street in snowbanks,” Poloncarz said. “We know that there are people who have been trapped in cars for more than 2 days.”
Freezing conditions and power outages had Buffaloans scrambling to get anywhere warm amid what Hochul called the longest sustained blizzard conditions in the city. But with the streets covered in a thick blanket of white, that wasn’t an option for people like Jeremy Manahan, who charged his phone in his parked car after nearly 29 hours without power.
“There is a warm shelter, but it would be too far for me. I can’t drive, obviously, because I’m stuck,” Manahan said. “Y you can’t be outside for more than 10 minutes without freezing”.
Ditjak Ilunga of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was on his way to visit relatives in Hamilton, Ontario, for Christmas with his daughters on Friday when his pickup truck got stuck in Buffalo. Unable to get help, they spent hours with their engines running, buffeted by the wind and nearly buried in snow.
At 4 a.m. Saturday, when they were low on fuel, Ilunga made the desperate decision to risk the howling storm to reach a nearby shelter. She carried Destiny, 6, on her back, while Cindy, 16, grabbed her Pomeranian puppy from her, following her tracks through the snow.
“If I stay in this car, I’m going to die here with my children,” Ilunga recalled thinking. She cried as the family entered the shelter doors. “It is something that I will never forget in my life”.
Traveler weather woes continued, with hundreds of flight cancellations already and more expected after a bomb cyclone, when air pressure drops very rapidly into a strong storm, developed near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions, including strong winds and snow.
The storm knocked out power in communities from Maine to Seattle. But heat and lights were steadily being restored across the US. According to poweroutage.us, fewer than 200,000 customers were without power as of 3 p.m. EDT Sunday, down from a peak of 1.7 million.
Concerns about continued blackouts in eastern states eased Sunday after PJM Interconnection said its utilities could meet peak electricity demand for the day. The mid-Atlantic network operator had asked its 65 million customers to conserve power amid the freeze on Saturday.
In recent days there have been reported deaths related to the storm throughout the country: 12 in Erie County, New Yorkwith ages between 26 and 93 years, and another in Niagara County, where a 27-year-old man was attacked by carbon monoxide. after the snow blocked his oven; 10 in Ohioincluding a utility worker electrocuted and those killed in multiple car accidents; six motorists killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky; a Vermont woman struck by falling branch; a man apparently homeless found in the subzero temperatures of Colorado; Y a woman that fell through the river ice Wisconsin.
In Jackson, Mississippi, city officials announced on Christmas Day that residents must now boil their drinking water due to bursting water pipes in the freezing temperatures.
(with information and photos from AP and Reuters)
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