as A massive winter storm As brutal winter weather continues to blast much of the U.S. — leading to at least 37 deaths nationwide — parts of western New York were buried in 43 inches of snow, stranding thousands of vehicles and leaving power out over the Christmas weekend.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul told CNN, “This storm was the most destructive storm in Buffalo’s long history.” Heavy snow and blizzard conditions made roads impassable with zero visibility, froze power substations and killed at least 17 people across the state. He died on Sunday night.
Rescue crews and hundreds of plow drivers were out on Christmas Day, even emergency and rescue vehicles sent to help were stuck in the snow. Officials said 11 abandoned ambulances were dug up on Sunday.
“We had to send special rescue teams to get the rescuers out,” Mark Polancarz, executive of Erie County, which includes Buffalo, told “CNN This Morning” on Monday, saying it was the worst storm he could remember. “It was so horrible, it was horrible for 24 hours straight.”
“We’re used to snow here and we can handle snow,” he said. “But the wind, the blinding views – it was pitch black – and the bitter cold, it was some of the worst conditions any of us had ever seen.”
Many of New York’s weather-related deaths were in Erie County, where some people were found dead in cars and on streets covered in ice, Polancarz said Sunday. A Buffalo police report says the deaths reported in Buffalo were “people found outdoors and in cars.”
Hundreds of National Guard troops are involved in rescue operations in New York. The governor said state police had performed more than 500 rescues by Sunday, including delivering a baby and helping a man with 4% left on a mechanical heart.
“We’re still in this very dangerous life-threatening situation,” Hochul said. A driving ban remains in place in Erie County until Monday, urging residents to stay off the roads.
“Our state and county plows are relentless, giving up time and putting themselves at risk, clearing roads through blinding blizzards,” Hochul said.
As blistering blizzard conditions swept the region, about 500 motorists found themselves stranded in their vehicles from Friday night to Saturday morning, Polancarz said, describing the frightening conditions on the road.
“Imagine being on a white sheet of paper for over 24 hours straight with only a few steps in front of you. “It was like that outside in the worst situation,” he said. “It was a continuous blizzard and whiteout and no one could see where they were going. No one knew what was going on.”
Abandoned vehicles and snow-covered roads — hundreds more cars on Buffalo streets — conditions are dire inside homes.
Some residents have been in their homes for the past 56 hours, some without power in the freezing temperatures, Hochul said during a news conference. The reason for this is not lack of resources, but rather a The mobility and accessibility challenge facing utility companies.
As of Sunday evening, 94.5% of Erie County residents and 87% of Buffalo residents had their power restored, Hochul said.
Still, 12,000 homes and businesses were without power in Erie County Sunday evening, and many more won’t have lights and heating until Tuesday, Polancarz said.
According to the National Weather Service, Buffalo will continue to see snow and bitterly cold temperatures Monday, with highs expected to reach 23 degrees during the day and 21 degrees at night.
In pictures: Winter storm hits US
Over the past week, a lingering winter storm has blanketed much of the United States with dangerously low temperatures and wind chills, and brought widespread power outages and thousands of canceled flights.
More than 10 million people were under blackout warnings throughout the south Monday, including residents of Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham.
Freezing temperatures are expected in affected areas, where temperatures will be in the mid-teens and low 20s, which could kill crops and damage plumbing. Most of these warnings will expire Monday morning as temperatures finally begin to recover from the polar winds.
Nationwide, about 65,000 customers were without power early Monday morning PowerOutage.US. Since the storm began, the number of outages has exceeded one million at times.
Power wasn’t the only one affected: Jackson, Mississippi, issued a boil water notice Sunday after its water system lost pressure due to “likely weather-related” line breaks. Officials said on Facebook. City – a solo hit two months ago Prolonged water crisis – Water supply to residents throughout Christmas Day.
The storm also added to travel in the U.S. during the busy holiday weekend 5,000 flights More than 3,400 flights were canceled on Friday and more than 3,100 were canceled for Christmas Day. More than 1,500 flights According to the tracking site, cancellations have already been made in, in or out of the US before 8:30 a.m. Monday. FlightAware.
After the arrival of the brutal weather, several states reported several storm-related deaths. In addition to deaths in New York, deaths include:
• Colorado: Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have reported two cold-related deaths since Thursday, one possibly seeking warmth near a building’s transformer and another found camping in an alley.
• KansasThree people have died in weather-related traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
• Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, officials said, including one in a vehicle crash in Montgomery County.
• Missouri: One person died after a caravan plunged off a snowy road into a frozen creek, Kansas City police said.
• Ohio: Nine people died as a result of weather-related auto crashes, including four on Interstate 75 Saturday morning when a semi-tractor-trailer crossed the median and collided with an SUV and a pickup, officials said.
• Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed a storm-related death Friday.
• Wisconsin: The Wisconsin State Patrol reported a fatal crash Thursday due to wintry weather.
The powerful system is moving in from the northeast, and many towns and cities are still covered in thick snow. In a 24-hour period, Baraka, Michigan received 42.8 inches of snow and Watertown, New York received 34.2 inches.
Grand Rapids, Michigan had the snowiest Christmas Eve ever, with a record 10.5 inches. National Weather Service.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for Buffalo, Jamestown and Watertown in New York and will expire over the next two days. Forecasts show Jamestown could see another 8 inches of snow, Buffalo another 14 inches and Watertown another 3 feet. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible.
Lake effect snow warnings remain in place until 10 a.m. EST Tuesday, north of Jamestown Up to 18 inches is possible.
Persistent lake-effect snow blowing downwind from the Great Lakes will slowly intensify, but arctic winds enveloping much of the eastern half of the country will slowly moderate. National Weather Service.
Lake-effect snow will create hazardous travel conditions for the next two days and conditions are expected to improve slowly during the week.
A low pressure system is forecast to move farther into Canada, while another system quickly moves across the northern U.S. into Monday, bringing snow from the Northern Plains through the Midwest.
Forecasters said most of the eastern part of the country will remain in deep freeze until Monday before easing on Tuesday.