The Troubles of the Deadly Storm continue

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — The deep freeze from a deadly winter storm that hit much of the United States will continue into the week as people in western New York face massive snowdrifts that have snarled emergency vehicles and travelers alike. across the country they see canceled flights and dangerous roads.

The massive storm killed at least 34 people across the United States and is expected to claim more lives after trapping some residents inside homes and cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

The extreme weather extended from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the Mexican border. About 60 percent of the U.S. population faced some sort of winter weather alert or warning, and temperatures plummeted drastically below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that the freezing Arctic air “enveloping much of the eastern half of the United States will be slow to moderate.”

This is especially unwelcome news for Buffalo, which has seen hurricane-force winds and snow causing whiteout conditions that have crippled emergency response efforts.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said nearly all of the city’s fire trucks were stranded on Saturday and pleaded with people on Sunday to comply with an ongoing driving ban in the region. Officials said the airport would be closed until Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service said the snow total at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 43 inches (1.1 meters) as of 7 am Sunday.

Huge drifts of snow almost covered the cars and there were thousands of houses, some adorned with unlit holiday screens, dark from lack of electricity.

With snow swirling along intact and impassable roads, forecasters warned that an additional 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) of snow could be possible in some areas through early Monday morning amid 40 mph wind gusts ( 64 km/h). Police said Sunday evening there were two “isolated” cases of looting during the storm.

Two people died Friday at their suburban home in Cheektowaga, New York, when emergency crews failed to reach them in time to treat their medical conditions. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said 10 more people died there in the storm, including six in Buffalo, and warned there could be more deaths.

“Some were found in cars, others were found on the street in snowdrifts,” Poloncarz said. “We know there are people who have been stuck in cars for more than two days.”

Freezing conditions and power outages caused Buffalonians to scramble to get anywhere in the heat in what Hochul called the longest sustained blizzard conditions ever seen in the city. But with the streets blanketed in a thick white blanket, that wasn’t an option for people like Jeremy Manahan, who charged his phone in his parked car after nearly 29 hours without electricity.

“There is a warming shelter, but it would be too far for me. I can’t drive, obviously, because I’m stuck,” Manahan said. “And you can’t be outside more than 10 minutes without freezing.”

Ditjak Ilunga of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was traveling to visit relatives in Hamilton, Ontario, for Christmas with his daughters on Friday when their SUV became trapped in Buffalo. Unable to get help, they spent hours with their engines running, buffeted by the wind and nearly buried in snow.

At 4am on Saturday, with fuel nearly gone, Ilunga made a desperate choice to risk the howling storm to reach a nearby shelter. He carried 6-year-old Destiny on his back while 16-year-old Cindy clutched their Pomeranian puppy, following her footprints across mounds.

“If I stay in this car, I will die here with my children,” Ilunga recalled thinking. She cried as the family walked through the doors of the shelter. “It’s something I will never forget in my life.”

Traveler weather woes have continued, with hundreds of flight cancellations already and more expected after a bomb cyclone — when air pressure drops very rapidly during a severe storm — develops near the Great Lakes, causing blizzard conditions , including strong winds and snow.

The storm cut power in communities from Maine to Seattle. But the heat and lights were constantly being turned back on across the United States. According to poweroutage.us, fewer than 100,000 customers were without power Monday at 7 a.m. EDT, down from a peak of 1.7 million.

Concerns about continued blackouts in the eastern states eased Sunday after PJM Interconnection said its utilities could meet the day’s peak electricity demand. The Mid-Atlantic grid operator had asked its 65 million consumers to conserve energy during Saturday’s freeze.

Storm-related deaths have been reported across the country in recent days: 12 in Erie County, New York, aged between 26 and 93, and another in Niagara County where a 27-year-old man was overwhelmed from carbon monoxide after snow blocks his furnace; 10 in Ohio, including one worker electrocuted and those killed in multiple automobile accidents; six motorists killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky; a Vermont woman hit by a falling branch; a seemingly homeless man found in the sub-zero temperatures of Colorado; and a woman who fell through the ice of the Wisconsin River.

In Jackson, Mississippi, city officials announced on Christmas Day that residents must now boil their drinking water as water pipes burst in freezing temperatures

___

Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Associated Press reporter Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles; Jonathan Mattise in Charleston, West Virginia; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; and Wilson Ring in Stowe, Vermont contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *