In this article, you will get all information regarding Western New York blizzard declared ‘major disaster’ as death toll rises; thousands without power this Christmas – Fox Weather
BUFFALO, NY- Blizzard conditions brought on by lake-effect snow continued in western New York over Christmas, where authorities are calling it the worst winter storm in decades.
Several feet of snow effectively buried roads and homes in Eerie County, including Watertown, Hamburg and Buffalo, New York. In one Tweeter On Sunday, officials said Buffalo Airport would be closed until Tuesday due to high winds, snowdrifts and low visibility that made air traffic dangerous.
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At a Christmas morning news conference, Eerie County Executive Mark Poloncarz called the blizzard a “major disaster” comparable to the 1977 blizzard and worse than the historic November blizzard.
Four more blizzard deaths were confirmed over Christmas, bringing the death toll to at least seven in western New York throughout the winter storm, Eerie County officials say. Some victims were found in vehicles, while others were found frozen in other circumstances.
Across the country, the Christmas week winter storm is responsible for at least 21 deaths from weather-related accidents and exposure.
After 48 hours of snowfall with rates of up to 3 inches per hour, a driving ban continues Sunday in Eerie County. Sheriff’s deputies performed more than 50 rescues throughout the storm using snowmobiles and special ops.
County officials said the whiteout conditions were so bad that ambulances had to be abandoned for a period of several hours during which emergency personnel could not respond to calls because the conditions were too dangerous.
Poloncarz said in a Tweeter Sunday marked the first time the Buffalo Fire Department was unable to respond to calls.
“Many areas are still impassable,” Poloncarz said, adding that areas cleared by snow plow drivers on Christmas Eve were covered again on Christmas morning.
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“These are communities that usually work very hard to make sure there’s not even a snowflake in the road,” the county executive said.
Eerie County officials have been in contact with New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Eerie County officials have also spoken with the Biden administration, seeking help from the federal government, according to Poloncarz.
“It’s a blizzard that will never be forgotten,” Poloncarz said.
Thousands without electricity at Christmas
More than 26,000 people in Eerie County are without power on Christmas morning, including more than 20,000 in Buffalo.
Two warming centers in the county had to close because they lost power during the storm.
Snow and ice are causing power outages in western New York, where substations in Buffalo are snow-covered and frozen, according to Poloncarz.
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Officials said equipment was being sent to get substations back into service, but some areas may not be restored until Monday morning.
“I know this is not the news people want to hear on Christmas Day,” Poloncarz said.
Mounds of snow bury cars, houses
Bands of heavy lake-effect snow with winds blowing at 35 mph continued to move through parts of Jefferson, southern Eerie, Lewis and Chautauqua throughout Sunday morning.
The FOX Forecast Center said lake effect snowfall rates will sometimes exceed 3 inches per hour.
More than 2 to 4 feet of additional snow is likely in Western New York. Some places near Lake Eerie in New York have already received between 5 and 6 feet of snow throughout the bomb cyclone of Christmas week.
Orchard Park, New York, picked up over 6.5 feet throughout the weather event, and Hamburg received nearly 6 feet.
Buffalo International Airport recorded just over 2 feet of snow in 48 hours.
Mounds of snow surrounded the National Weather Service office in Buffalo on Sunday before sunrise.
“Here is a view of our office with some rather impressive mounds of snow in the foreground,” the NWS Buffalo tweeted. “Lots (lots) of cars are still buried all over the area.”
Western New York blizzard declared ‘major disaster’ as death toll rises; thousands without power this Christmas – Fox Weather
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