BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The death toll from a snowstorm in the Buffalo area of western New York has risen to 27, officials said Monday. Much of the rest of the United States suffered severe winter conditions.
People who lost their lives near Buffalo were found in cars, homes and snow banks. Some died while shoveling snow, others because emergency services failed to respond to medical emergencies in a timely manner.
President Joe Biden said his prayers are with the families of the victims and offered federal aid to the hard-hit states on Monday. Nationwide, the storm is believed to have killed at least 50 people, with rescue and recovery efforts continuing on Monday.
Erie County Administrator Mark Polonkers described the blizzard as “probably the worst storm of our lives” and warned that more people could die. increase.
Scientists say the climate crisis may have contributed to the intensity of the storm. That’s because the atmosphere can carry more water vapor, which can serve as fuel, said Mark Cereze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Victor Gensini, a meteorology professor at Northern Illinois University, likened a single weather event to an “at-bat” — and the climate as your “batting average.”
“It’s hard to say,” Serreze said. “But are the dice a little bit loaded now? Absolutely.”
The blizzard roared across western New York Friday and Saturday — stranding motorists, knocking out power and preventing emergency crews from reaching residents in frigid homes and stuck cars.
With many grocery stores in the Buffalo area closed LYSNOWand driving bans in place, some people pleaded on social media for donations of food and diapers.
Relief is coming this week, though, as forecasts call for temperatures to slowly rise, said Ashton Robinson Cook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Extreme weather has ranged from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande River along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the US population faced some form of winter weather advisory or warning, with temperatures well below normal east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains.
About 3,410 domestic and international flights have been canceled since around 3 p.m. Monday. EDT, according to tracking site FlightAware. According to the website, Southwest Airlines has recorded 2,497 cancellations for him, about 60% of scheduled flights and about 10 times more than any other major U.S. airline.
Southwest Airlines said the weather was improving and that “the situation will stabilize and improve.”
FlightAware data shows cancellations and delays at airports across the US, including Denver, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago. Hochul said the storm came just a month after the region was hit by another “historic” snowfall. Total snowfall between the two storms is not far from the 96 inches (242 cm) that the region typically sees throughout the winter.
Total snowfall at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 1.25 meters (49.2 inches) as of 10 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Officials said the airport will be closed until Wednesday morning.