(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – At least 37 people have died due to the winter storm that hit most of the US this past week, leaving hundreds of thousands without power on Christmas morning.
It also brought heavy snowfall, strong winds, and bitter cold.
The area around Buffalo, New York, where 43 inches of snow had fallen as of Sunday morning, may have suffered the most damage.
According to Erie County officials, more than a dozen individuals died due to heavy snowfall, blizzard conditions, and frozen power substations.
On Sunday, the weather improved enough for first responders to go and assess the situation.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stated on Sunday,
“I don’t want to claim that this is going to be it because that would be a fallacy for me to say that since we know that there are people who have been stuck in cars for more than two days. There are people in homes with temps below zero.”
Due to its strength and endurance, New York Governor Kathy Hochul called it the “most disastrous storm in Buffalo’s long, storied history.”
On Sunday, Hochul told CNN’s Paula Reid that the situation was “of epic proportions.”
"My message for New Yorkers is simple, this is a life threatening, dangerous event. Protect yourselves, protect your families. Do not travel," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday. pic.twitter.com/wCcKb3Hkl5
— Spectrum News 1 BUF (@SPECNews1BUF) December 23, 2022
This winter storm destroyed Christmas preparations last week by bringing dangerously low temperatures, blizzard conditions, and coastal flooding to practically the entire US.
On Sunday morning, wind chill advisories were in effect for more than 55 million people, and freeze warnings were in place throughout the South.
While the eastern two-thirds of the country saw bitterly cold temperatures on Sunday, the blizzard conditions around the Great Lakes remained.
According to reports, this has been the coldest Christmas in decades experienced in a few significant Southeast, Midwest, and East Coast cities.
December 25 in Florida will be the coldest since 1983 in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and West Palm Beach.
On Christmas Eve, New York City had record-low temperatures at several places, including its JFK and LaGuardia airports. According to the National Weather Service, the peak temperature in Central Park was only 15 degrees, making it the second-coldest December 24 in at least 150 years.
Later in the week, temperatures are expected to increase with a much-appreciated warming trend and above-average temperatures.
According to PowerOutage.us, nearly half of the 250,000 homes and businesses without electricity service in the US as of approximately 11 a.m. ET Sunday was in Maine and New York.
Since the storm’s beginning, more than one million households have occasionally been without power.
The Power Grid Has a Chilly Spell
Customers were encouraged to conserve energy and set temperatures lower than usual from early Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday due to capacity.
The demands from the power grid strained in at least 13 states in the country’s eastern half.
In all or portions of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, the operator, PJM Interconnection, provides service to nearly 65 million people.
The operator said that rolling blackouts could occur in case of excessive strain.
Con Edison and Natural Grid US, two utilities in New York, asked consumers to practice energy efficiency, citing severe weather conditions and increased energy demand on interstate pipelines bringing natural gas into the city.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the US Department of Energy declared an emergency due to a Texas electricity deficit, allowing the state’s energy supplier to exceed environmental emission limits until energy use declines.
Cold weather in Jackson, Mississippi, is making it difficult to fix a significant water main break that occurred late Saturday and reduced water pressure for locals, according to city authorities.
According to the press statement, every affected resident and this administration are aware of and grateful for their sacrifice. “We appreciate the personnel working to restore pressure to residents this Christmas Eve night despite the bitterly cold weather.”
On Friday, there were more than 5,000 flights were canceled. Then another 3,400 on Saturday, and more than 2,800 on Christmas Day due to the extreme weather.
All of which has significantly hampered travel over the busy holiday weekend.
Hazardous Meteorological Conditions Result in Fatalities
One fatal carbon monoxide poisoning was reported in Niagara County, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.
In contrast, according to officials, 16 of the 17 weather-related fatalities reported across New York occurred in Erie County.
Despite a county driving ban during the storm, blistering blizzard conditions swept the area, and Poloncarz, the county executive, said that 500 motorists found themselves stranded in their cars on Friday night into Saturday morning.
He stated that the National Guard assists in “rescuing those stuck in vehicles.”
“Some of the deaths, which were discovered early on Sunday and were people ranging in age from 26 to 93, “were found in cars. And some were literally found on the street in snow banks,” Poloncarz added.
Poloncarz reported that two people died in separate events on Friday night because emergency medical workers could not reach their residences in time for medical emergencies.
A county official on Saturday afternoon confirmed a third fatality, although no immediate details were available.
According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, “the loss of two lives in Buffalo – storm related – because people were unable to get to medical attention, is again a crisis situation that unfolds before your eyes and you realize that lifesaving ambulances and emergency medical personnel cannot get to people during a blizzard situation.”
Hochul stated that she would ask the federal government
“for a declaration of emergency that’ll allow us to seek reimbursement for the extraordinary expenses of all the overtime and the fact that we brought in mutual aid from other sections of the state.”
There have been more storm-related fatalities reported around the nation. They consist of the following:
• Colorado: Since Thursday, Colorado Springs police have recorded two deaths connected to the cold. One man was discovered near a building’s power transformer, possibly seeking warmth, and the other in a tent in an alleyway.
• Kansas: The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Friday that three persons had died in weather-related car accidents.
• Kentucky: According to officials, three fatalities were reported there, one of which was caused by a car accident in Montgomery County.
• Missouri: According to Kansas City police, one person perished when a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek.
• Ohio: According to authorities, nine individuals had perished in weather-related car accidents, including four in a mishap on Interstate 75 early Saturday morning when a semi-tractor trailer jumped the median and hit a truck.
• Tennessee: One storm-related mortality was reported on Friday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
• Wisconsin: On Thursday, the Wisconsin State Patrol reported one deadly collision brought on by the wintery weather.
What To Anticipate When The Storm Gradually Dissipates, And The Dangerous Conditions Persist
On Sunday, sections of the Great Lakes may experience lake-effect snow and blizzard conditions due to strong winds that will be left behind by the arctic cold front that passed through this week.
Many of the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes region, and the Ohio Valley are under winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings, and blizzard warnings.
Lake-effect snow accumulation of between 8 and 16 inches is possible.
The storm system is anticipated to steadily diminish as it moves slowly across much of the country’s eastern half over the following few days as it lifts into southeastern Canada.
Into Monday, The Arctic Blast Will Gradually Die Down
The National Weather Service warns that the freezing temperatures and hazardous wind chills might pose a life-threatening risk to animals, pets, stranded travelers, and those who work outside.
The Weather Service cautioned that being outdoors in some places might cause frostbite in a matter of minutes.
Lake-effect snows and blizzard conditions are anticipated to persist but gradually lessen in intensity as the arctic air continues to pound the warm Great Lakes.
Still, highly hazardous driving conditions will persist due to the strong gusty winds, initially gusting up to 60 mph, that will accompany the snow coming downwind from the Great Lakes.
According to the Weather Service, a second low-pressure system from the Pacific will bring the next wave of moisture toward the Pacific Northwest and then into northern California by Christmas night or early Monday.
The death toll will continue to rise as the deadly storm clears.
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