Dec 26 (Reuters) – At least 25 people were killed in a powerful blizzard that paralyzed western New York over Christmas weekend, Erie County officials said Monday.
Erie County Chief Executive Mark Polonkers told reporters at a Monday morning briefing that the county’s death toll related to storms surged overnight by as much as 12.
More deaths were being reported, but the county coroner was trying to determine if they were directly attributable to the weather, Polonkertz said.
The blizzard, considered the region’s worst in 45 years, struck late Friday night and hit western New York over the Christmas holiday weekend. It covered most of the United States for several days, covering the Arctic freeze and winter storm front that extended south to the Mexican border.
At least 50 people have died in weather-related incidents in the United States since late last week, according to an NBC News tally.
The Buffalo region, located on the edge of Lake Erie near the Canadian border, was one of the hardest-hit areas.
Numbing cold, howling winds, and heavy “lake-effect” snow (the result of moisture absorbed by the frigid air moving over warm lake water) set off storms that Governor Kathy Hochul called “22 years of blizzards.” “It will go down in history,” he said. .”
The governor called the “magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime” weather disaster ranked as the deadliest winter storm to hit New York State’s second-largest city, Buffalo, since a blizzard in 1977 that killed nearly 30 people. called.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Kanishka Singh and Susan Heavey.Edited by Chiju Nomiyama
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