Death toll in Western New York increases due to cold and storm mayhem

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Residents of Buffalo huddled around space heaters, scoured for automobiles buried in snow drifts, and searched for further casualties on Monday after 28 people perished in one of the worst weather-related tragedies to ever strike western New York.

At least two dozen other fatalities were recorded in various regions of the United States due to the fierce winter storm.

According to the National Weather Service, up to 9 additional inches (23 cm) of snow might fall in a few areas of western New York through Tuesday.

“This is not yet the end,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who described the snowstorm as “perhaps the worst storm in our generation,” even for a region used to severe snowfall.

He mentioned that some individuals were trapped in their vehicles for more than two days.

Monday, President Joe Biden expressed his thoughts for the victims’ families and offered government help to the hardest-hit state.

Those who perished in the Buffalo area were discovered in automobiles, residences, and snowbanks. Others perished because emergency personnel could not arrive in time for medical emergencies.

The snowstorm compelled doula Melissa Carrick to assist a pregnant client through labor over the phone. The lady was evacuated by EMS to a hospital approximately 45 minutes south of Buffalo since none of the facilities closer to Buffalo were accessible.

“In any other regular storm in Buffalo? “I would simply drive through the snow because that is what you do,” she remarked. “However, you knew this was unique.”

Scientists believe the climate change dilemma may have contributed to the storm’s ferocity. According to Mark Serreze, who is the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, this is because the atmosphere can transport more water vapor, which functions as fuel.

Professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University Victor Gensini compared a single weather event to an “at-bat” and the climate to a “batting average.”

It is difficult to tell, said Serreze. “However, are the dice a little loaded now? Absolutely.”

On Friday and Saturday, a snowstorm ravaged western New York. Due to the closure of several grocery shops in the Buffalo region and the imposition of driving prohibitions, some individuals appealed for food and diaper contributions over social media.

Poloncarz, the county administrator, said, “It was like staring at a white wall for 14 to 18 hours straight.”

Ashton Robinson Cook wh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, anticipates that temperatures will gradually increase later this week.

Cook said the bomb cyclone, which occurs when air pressure drops rapidly during a severe storm, had lessened. It formed around the Great Lakes, creating blizzard conditions with strong winds and snowfall.

FlightAware said that as of around 3 p.m. EDT on Monday, 3,410 domestic and foreign flights were canceled. Southwest Airlines experienced 2,497 cancellations, or almost 60% of its planned flights and roughly ten times more than any other major U.S. airline.

The weather is improving, according to Southwest, which will “stabilize and enhance our condition.”

According to FlightAware data, airports throughout the United States, including Denver, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, Baltimore, and Chicago, were experiencing flight cancellations and delays.

Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul traveled to Buffalo, her birthplace, and described the snowfall as “historic.” She said that almost every fire engine in the city got trapped on Saturday.

Hochul remarked that the storm occurred one month after another “record” blizzard saturated the area. The combined snowfall from the two storms is approaching the 95.4-inch (242-centimeter) average for the entire winter season.

Monday at 10 a.m., the Buffalo Niagara International Airport received 49.2 inches (1.25 meters) of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Officials report that the airport would remain closed until Wednesday AM.

Shahida Muhammad told WKBW that a power outage rendered her son’s ventilator inoperable. Friday to Sunday, she and the child’s father manually gave breaths until rescuers spotted her urgent social media pleas and rushed to their help. She said that her kid was doing well despite the adversity and called him “a warrior.”

Monday, Trisha LoGrasso was still huddled over a space heater in her living room with three of her children and the boyfriend of her oldest daughter. Inside her Buffalo house, the temperature was 42 degrees (5.5 C). A gas leak left her without heat, while broken pipes left her without running water.

The 48-year-old remarked, “I have been here my whole life, and this is the worst storm I have ever seen.”

Melissa Osmon and her husband, James, were without electricity for more than 72 hours in Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo, and would spend hours in their vehicle to remain warm.

“We even watched the Buffalo Bills game on our phone,” Osmon added from her GMC Acadia while on the phone. She said, “You can see your breath inside the home.” That is how chilly it is. Communities from Maine to Seattle lost electricity as a result of the storm.

Almost the whole country was affected by storm-related fatalities, with at least eight people murdered in Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky. A lady slipped through river ice in Wisconsin, and there was a tragic fire at a homeless camp in Kansas.

According to officials, Monday in Jackson, Mississippi, technicians battled to move water through the city’s ailing water system. Many locations needed more water or had inadequate water pressure. On Christmas Day, homeowners were instructed to boil their drinking water because frozen pipes had ruptured.

“We have yet to find substantial system leakage,” the city stated in a Monday statement.

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