BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The winter storm that has battered much of the United States will continue to wreak havoc for days to come, as heavy snowfall blocked emergency vehicles and thousands of travelers stranded. stranded due to flight cancellations or impassable roads.
The massive storm has killed at least 34 people and that number is likely to rise. Thousands of people were trapped in their homes, and tens of thousands of homes and businesses are without power.
The storm stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande Valley on the Mexican border. Some 60% of the US population was under some type of weather advisory, and temperatures dropped to well below normal from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.
The National Weather Service said Sunday that frigid air “enveloping much of the eastern United States will be severe to moderate.”
That’s bad news, particularly for Buffalo, where winds and snowfall were so strong they crippled rescue services.
New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul said nearly all fire trucks in that city were stranded and implored people to abide by a driving ban. The authorities announced that the local airport will remain closed at least until Tuesday morning. The weather service said snow at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport reached 43 inches (1.1 meters) as of 7 am Sunday.
A large number of vehicles were practically buried under snow and thousands of homes were without electricity, with unlit Christmas decorations outside.
As the snow continued to fall and there was no chance of clearing it, forecasters warned that there would be 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) more accumulation and winds would reach 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour). . Police reported that there were two “isolated incidents” of looting during the storm.
Two people died at their homes in Cheektowaga in upstate New York on Friday because rescue teams were unable to reach them to treat their medical conditions. Erie County Administrator Mark Poloncarz said another 10 people died there during the storm, including six in Buffalo, and warned that number could rise.
Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Contributing to this story were correspondents 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.