17 Dead in Buffalo Amid ‘Historic Blizzard,’ More Deaths Expected: Officials

At least 17 people have died in Buffalo, New York, amid a powerful winter storm that has swept through the United States this Christmas, officials have said.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed 13 deaths on Sunday, adding that the latest reported death was a 22-year-old female who was found in a car in Buffalo.

“There are now 13 confirmed deaths from the Blizzard. Unfortunately, we do expect that number to grow,” Poloncarz said.

At least four of the individuals who died were found outside, three were found shoveling snow, another three died due to a delayed response from emergency medical services, and one was found in a car. Another individual was found inside a building, Poloncarz said.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told The Buffalo News later on Sunday that another four deaths were confirmed in the city.

A state of emergency has been declared in Erie County and a driving ban is in place until Monday amid icy conditions on the road. Officials will reassess the ban on Monday, Poloncarz said.

Earlier in the day, Poloncarz warned residents to stay inside amid frigid temperatures and dangerous conditions outside as the deadly blizzard continued to pummel Buffalo, leaving many stuck indoors.

A 27-year-old Lockport man was also killed in his home in neighboring Niagara County from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning after snow blocked his furnace, WGRZ reported.

A second person at the home was taken to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston for treatment, according to the report.

Epoch Times Photo
Gamaliel Vega tries to dig out his car on Lafayette Avenue after he got stuck in a snowdrift about a block from home while trying to help rescue his cousin, who had lost power and heat with a baby at home across town during a blizzard in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 24, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)

Additional Confirmed Deaths Expected

“We have many more 911 calls regarding dead bodies that we are also working diligently to get to confirm and recover,” Gramaglia said Sunday evening. “We are also working very hard to complete welfare checks in an effort to reduce potential deaths.” He said the deaths were of people found outside and in cars.

Officials expect more deaths to be reported in the coming days.

“We do believe based on reports we’re getting from the field we are going to get a number—hopefully not a significant number—but a number of additionally confirmed deaths in the next six hours because of bodies that have been found but have not yet been transported to hospitals for identification and confirmation of death,” Poloncarz said at a news conference on Sunday alongside New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

A state of emergency remains in effect in New York.

In the meantime, the National Guard has been deployed to help Buffalo and the surrounding region to deal with the “historic blizzard” which is impacting travel conditions and leaving people stranded.

Buffalo airport had recorded 43 inches (109 cm) of snow as of 7 a.m E.T. on Sunday, NWS meteorologist Rich Otto said.

“New Yorkers are used to winter storms, but this one packed a punch and caused complete whiteout conditions in Western New York however, additional help is on the way,” Hochul said in a statement on Dec. 25. “Please stay home today if you are in areas experiencing blizzard-like conditions and know that roads will be icy across the state as we continue to experience freezing temperatures in the teens and single digits.”

Approximately 13,377 customers are currently without power in New York according to PowerOutage.us, of which 12,138 are located in Erie County and 479 are in Niagara County.

Overall, at least 38 weather-related deaths have been reported in the United States and Canada and hundreds of thousands have been left without power this Christmas, according to multiple reports.

Katabella Roberts

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.

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