A severe winter storm has caused dozens of deaths across the United States, with the majority occurring in Erie County, New York. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia reported that 27 of the 49 nationwide deaths occurred in the county, with some due to exposure and others from natural causes.
Gramaglia urged residents to stay inside and not venture out, as emergency responders are going to homes without heat and taking people to warming shelters. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stated that 14 people in the county died from exposure, three were found in their vehicles, four had no heat, three died from shoveling or snow blowing, and three passed away after emergency medical services were delayed. Poloncarz also reported that additional bodies have been recovered and are being brought to a temporary morgue.
The storm, which has been described as the worst in Buffalo’s history, is expected to continue with 8 to 12 more inches of snow expected between Monday and Tuesday afternoon. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has requested that President Joe Biden issue federal emergency declarations for Erie and Genesee counties. National Guard troops and state police have been deployed to assist with rescue efforts in New York as more snow is expected to fall.