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Seven dead in Buffalo as Arctic system freezes eastern U.S.

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(Reuters) – A deadly blizzard hits Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Day, leaving people stuck in cars, causing power outages and a death toll from the severe winter storm system that hit the United States. Increased.

Twenty-eight people have died in weather-related incidents across the country so far, according to NBC News’ tally.CNN reported a total of 26 fatalities.

Erie County Commissioner Mark Polonkers said the death toll from the storm rose from three to seven overnight in western New York’s Buffalo area. In total, Sunday’s snow left him with nearly 4 feet (1.2 meters) of buildup.

Of the four people reported dead on Sunday morning, some were found in their cars and some were found in a snowman, Poloncarz said, adding that the death toll could still rise. rice field.

“This is not the Christmas that any of us wanted or expected, but please try to have the best Christmas possible today,” Polonkers said on Twitter on Sunday. My sincere condolences to you.

Christina Kravka, 39, of North Buffalo, saw shingles blown out of her neighbor’s house and heard “hurricane winds” rattling the windows. She had a power outage in her entire neighborhood on Saturday night and still had no electricity on Sunday morning.

“While I was trying to watch the Buffalo Bills-Chicago Bears game, the TV kept flickering. Shortly after the third quarter, the power went off,” she said.

Kravka says cars are trapped under a five-foot snowdrift in her neighborhood, with more snow forecast for Sunday night.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters on Sunday that she has been in communication with the White House and that the Biden administration supports the state’s request for a federal disaster declaration.

“This will go down in history as Buffalo’s most devastating storm. It’s been going on for years and we’re still in the middle of it.

The blizzard was the result of a powerful winter weather system that has caused frigid temperatures from the northern Great Plains to the U.S.-Mexico border since mid-last week. The storm was moving east on Sunday after flights were canceled during the travel period.

More than 150,000 US homes and businesses lost power on Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us. In Buffalo, 16% of his residents had no electricity on Sunday, officials said.

Officials said two days of whiteout conditions in western New York had made rescue efforts nearly impossible. A National Guard team sent from Niagara Falls to aid Buffalo was stuck trying to reach equipment at the Buffalo Armory on Friday.

“We had to dig them out so they could get to the Buffalo Armory.”

More than 1,600 flights were canceled in the US as of noon Sunday as the weather further disrupted holiday travel, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

NWS meteorologist Rich Otto said Christmas morning temperatures were still well below normal in the central and eastern United States, and even below freezing as far as the Gulf Coast.

deadly car move

In Erie County, hundreds of motorists were stranded in their cars over the weekend and the National Guard was called in to help rescue them, Polonkers said.

A countywide driving ban was also in effect on Sunday.

Buffalo Airport recorded about four feet of snow by Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

“In the Buffalo area, we generally expect another foot or two by Monday morning,” Otto said. We’re still getting a lot of snow.”

Kentucky officials have confirmed that there have been at least three storm-related deaths in the state. Meanwhile, at least four people were killed and several injured in car-related accidents in Ohio. A blizzard near Toledo on Friday.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Lucia Mutikani, Rick Cowan, Ahmed Aboulenein Editing by Ross Colvin, Diane Craft, Nick Zieminski

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Ahmed Abrain

thomson Reuters

A Washington-based correspondent covering U.S. health care and pharmaceutical policy, with a focus on regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, formerly based in Iraq and Egypt.

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