At least 12 people have died in the Buffalo, N.Y., area as the result of the punishing storm that swept through the area in recent days, bringing icy winds, frigid temperatures and persistent blizzard-like conditions.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed the deaths Sunday and said the total would rise as additional bodies already recovered are identified. Some people died while stuck in cars, others were found on the street in snowbanks, some measuring up to 10 feet. The dead were between the ages of 26 and 93, he said.
“We know there are people stuck in cars for two days and in homes that are below freezing.” Mr. Poloncarz said. “This has been a horrible, worst type of storm you can imagine.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the scenes on the roads in and around Buffalo were stunning.
“It is going to a war zone. The vehicles along the sides of the road are shocking,” she said. “It is not just small vehicles, it is literally snowplows, it is major sized recovery vehicles, and utility vehicles and tow trucks. So we have a real challenge right now.”
Gov. Hochul said she spoke to Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff, who assured her that her request for a federal disaster declaration will be granted in short order.
The storm that pummeled Western New York in recent days was part of a broader system that swept into the U.S. last week. The arctic blast brought record-low temperatures throughout the eastern two-thirds of the country. The front and its accompanying subzero wind chill and icy conditions brought flooding, fatalities, power outages, canceled flights and dangerous driving conditions to much of the country.
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