Residents of western New York are being pummeled by one of the harshest winter storms ever recorded in the region.
According to reports, there were 27 deaths, but the Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had the figure at 25. Earlier, Poloncarz had said there may be other deaths that have not been confirmed.
According to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, 18 bodies have been recovered.
“It has been a very dangerous and difficult storm,” Brown said.
Several of those deaths were caused by stranded motorists freezing to death.
Governor Kathy Hochul said at a press conference that there is much more to come from the storm.
“It is clear from the sky that the storm is coming back”, Hochul said, adding that “snow is expected to fall for another six to 12 inches.” Although the worst of the storm may be over, she said it’s still “way too early to say it’s all over.”
Additionally, Hochul said she is working with the Biden administration to obtain federal resources and has requested an emergency declaration.
As of early Monday morning, Buffalo’s temperature was 16 degrees with snow continuing. Poloncarz announced that the driving ban remains in effect in Buffalo, Lackawanna, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Evans, Hamburg, Orchard Park and West Seneca; it will be lifted in other parts of the county on Monday at 7 a.m.
“The Thruway and NYS route remain closed,” he said.
There have also been power outages in the Empire State due to the freezing weather. As of Monday morning, National Grid reported that 13,377 people had been impacted by outages, with 12,426 of them living in Erie County.
Poloncarz said the number of people without power in Erie County has decreased significantly from Sunday morning, when 26,404 were without power, “so good progress has been made.”