A deadly winter storm in Western New York has claimed the lives of at least 28 people at the time of this reporting, officials have confirmed.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Monday afternoon that two more people had died from the blizzard, bringing the total known dead to 27. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office reported one more 27-year-old man had died of carbon monoxide poisoning after heavy snow covered the external furnace of his residence, causing the fatal gas to enter.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown earlier said police have recovered at least 18 bodies in the city.
“This has been a very difficult and dangerous storm,” he said. “It’s been described as a once-in-a-generation storm and everything that has been forecast we have gotten in the City of Buffalo and then some.”
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The deadly blizzard dumped more than five to six feet of snow in Erie County, burying homes and roads in Watertown, Hamburg, and Buffalo, New York, FOX Weather reported. The freezing weather knocked out power for tens of thousands of customers in Western New York. As of Tuesday morning, National Grid said power service had been restored to 93,600 of its 104,600 customers in the region, with more than 2,850 restoration experts working to get the power back on.
Of the 27 confirmed deaths, Poloncarz said three were from EMS delay; 14 people were found dead outside; three suffered cardiac events while shoveling or blowing snow; four perished from lack of heat; and three died in a vehicle.
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A travel ban is in effect in the city of Buffalo to keep roads clear for emergency personnel and for the protection of residents.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday evening that President Biden approved her request to declare a federal emergency in response to the storm.
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“I have spoken to President Biden who has agreed to swiftly approve our Federal Emergency Declaration, which will be crucial to assist our recovery efforts from this historic storm, and I thank our congressional delegation for helping secure this assistance,” Hochul said.
“While we continue to do everything we can to help Western New York recover and await federal assistance, I want everyone in impacted areas to continue to stay off the roads and check in on loved ones and neighbors,” she added.
The White House offered “the full force of the Federal government in support of the people of New York as the state grapples with the impacts of a historic winter storm,” according to a readout of the president’s call with Hochul Monday.
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The emergency declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.