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Western New York Blizzard Death Toll Rises; National Guard to Enforce Driving Ban

Published: December 27, 2022
Pedestrians walk in the road on Dec. 26, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. The historic winter storm Elliott dumped up to four feet of snow on the area leaving thousands without power and twenty five confirmed dead in the city of Buffalo. (Image: John Normile/Getty Images)

At least 28 western New Yorkers have lost their lives as a result of a deadly Christmas blizzard, Erie County officials confirmed on Dec. 27.

Erie County’s chief executive Mark Poloncarz told a news conference that the medical examiner’s office and the Department of Health confirmed three more fatalities associated with the blizzard.

Western New York was hardest hit by an Arctic deep freeze and storm front that extended over most of the United States for days as far south as the Mexican border.

Across the country, at least 60 lives have been lost in weather-related incidents in recent days, NBC News said.

Buffalo, New York state’s second-largest city, was ground zero for the blizzard that took shape on Friday. Governor Kathy Hochul called it an “epic, once-in-a-lifetime” weather disaster.

According to Erie County authorities, some of those who died were found frozen in cars, others in snowbanks outside, and others from medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest while shoveling snow.

Poloncarz said the driving ban has been lifted in most areas but it is still in effect for Buffalo. According to Poloncarz, too many people are ignoring the ban, thus the county has called in 100 military police from the state National Guard as well as officers from New York City to help manage traffic, sending residents on the road home and turning away motorists trying to get into the city.

By Reuters (Production: Andrea Rodriguez)