Horrifying Winter Storm in USA
At least 37 people have died after a winter storm tore through much of the United States in the days leading up to Christmas.
Seventeen of the deaths from the storm were reported in New York, where blizzard conditions engulfed Buffalo in snow, leaving residents trapped in vehicles and in freezing houses.
Emergency vehicles were also snowbound, and crews bailed out and were unable to respond to calls for help as ambulances and fire trucks became trapped in snow and sweltering conditions.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said nearly all of the city’s fire trucks were stranded on Saturday and implored people Sunday to respect the region’s current driving ban.
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 as of 7 a.m. Sunday.
Huge snowdrifts almost covered cars and there were thousands of houses, some adorned with festive displays without lighting, dark from lack of power.
With snow swirling on virgin and impassable streets, forecasters warned an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow was possible in some areas through early Monday amid 40 mph wind gusts. Police said late Sunday that there had been two “isolated” cases of looting during the storm.
Two people died Friday at their homes in suburban Cheektowaga, New York, when emergency crews were unable to arrive in time to treat their medical conditions.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said 10 more people were killed there during the storm, including six in Buffalo, and warned there could be more fatalities.
“Some were found in cars, some were found on the street in snowbanks,” Poloncarz said. “We know that there are people who have been trapped in cars for more than 2 days.”
In Buffalo, warming centers were set up and some residents walked to hotels that still had power, bags and pets in tow as they had to wade through snowdrifts to find warmth.
Additional cold-related deaths were reported in Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Ohio, where nine people died as a result of weather-related auto accidents.
Extreme weather stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande River along the Mexican border. About 60% of the US population faced some type of winter weather watch or warning, with temperatures dropping dramatically below normal from the Rocky Mountains east to the Appalachians.
The storm also plunged hundreds of thousands of Americans into darkness as power outages swept across the country due to high winds and ice.
From Seattle to Maine, 2 million homes and businesses were without power. Crews worked to restore power over the holidays, even in snowy and hazardous conditions. Some utility companies predicted blackouts to continue, however much of the country has seen power restored.
Still, the storm’s impacts linger even as temperatures begin to rise. In Jackson, Mississippi, residents are facing a boil water order after frozen pipes burst.
That comes when the city is already struggling with access to water due to aging infrastructure.
The weather has also continued to hamper travel plans for those returning home. Thousands of flights were canceled from Friday to Sunday, leaving people unable to get home or struggling for alternative routes.
Some travelers even found themselves spending Christmas in a hotel or at the airport, unable to reach their final destination. Read More….