Following Friday’s bomb cyclone that brought several feet of snow and freezing temperatures to parts of New York, local authorities have discovered dead bodies in snowbanks and in cars, according to local reports.
Winter storms struck several areas across the country on Friday, leaving a trail of devastation just days before Christmas. Over the weekend, authorities continued grappling with the widespread damage caused by the storms, which killed at least 22 people, CNN reported.
In Erie County, where Buffalo, New York, is located—at least 12 people died, officials said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. In Niagara County, directly to the north, one other man died from carbon monoxide after snow blocked his furnace, the AP reported.
During a storm briefing on Sunday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed that some bodies were found overnight in cars and in snowbanks, according to a report from local news station WIVB-TV.
A man clears his driveway in Hamburg, New York, on Saturday. Inset, police tape is seen. After a massive winter storm struck Buffalo, New York, on Friday, local authorities have discovered bodies in cars and in snowbanks, as the national death toll tragically exceeds 20.
John Normile/Getty Images; Noam Galai/Getty Images
“I do know that some were found in cars and some were found actually on the street in snowbanks. I offer my deepest condolences to the families, some of them probably have not been actually notified yet,” Poloncarz said.
Peter Anderson, an Erie County spokesperson, told Newsweek on Sunday that some individuals passed away after having heart attacks from shoveling snow and that there “may well be others yet undiscovered.”
Poloncarz added that he did not know the exact details about how the bodies were found, and that the current death toll could rise, as there “may be more” bodies that are yet to be discovered.
“I don’t want to say this is going to be it, because that would be fallacy for me to say that. Because we know there are people stuck in cars for more than two days. And there are people in homes that are below freezing now temperatures,” he said, according to the news station.
The storm brought substantial damage to Buffalo, a city that is no stranger to receiving brutal winter weather. At least 27,000 customers in the county were still without power as of Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us. Meanwhile, a driving ban remains in place for the entire county.
Photos posted to social media showed the strength of the storm in Buffalo. Some photos posted to Twitter by residents showed entire buildings covered in ice from Lake Erie.
As the death toll could still rise, Poloncarz warned residents not to go into the city to search for loved ones.
“If the storm has subsided near you and there is an open road, do not plan on going into the City of Buffalo to try and rescue family/friends. Most of Buffalo is still impassable. Just because it looks open near you, doesn’t mean you will be able to get very far a few miles away,” he said Sunday in a tweet.
If the storm has subsided near you and there is an open road, do not plan on going into the City of Buffalo to try and rescue family/friends. Most of Buffalo is still impassable. Just because it looks open near you, doesn’t mean you will be able to get very far a few miles away.
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) December 25, 2022
Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul described the storm as “one for the ages,” according to The Buffalo News.
“This will go down in history as the most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long-storied history of fighting many major storms,” she said, according to the newspaper.
Newsweek reached out to the Buffalo Police Department for comment.
Updated 12/25/2022 5:57 p.m. ET: This story was updated with the latest death toll.
Source : Newsweek