that “blizzard of the century”, according to the expression of the governor of the state of New York, Kathy Hochul, has caused more than sixty deaths in the United States. By Tuesday, December 27, snow had stopped falling in Buffalo in the northwestern part of the state, the epicenter of Winter Storm Elliott, which turned Christmas into a nightmare weekend for millions of Americans.
However, traffic was still prohibited in this city of 280,000 inhabitants, whose streets were buried under almost two meters of snow. The firefighters tried to clear the immobilized cars – several hundred – and the trees fell under the influence of particularly violent winds. Authorities called on the National Guard to enforce the decreed travel ban to facilitate relief operations and the restoration of electricity.
The death toll in Erie County, including Buffalo, was 31 storm-related deaths Tuesday, half of the national death toll. A figure higher than the results of the blizzard of 1977 (twenty-nine deaths), remembered in this region near Niagara Falls, where the winter is particularly severe. The blizzard exceeded 1977 in terms of wind power, snowfall intensity (thirty-seven hours without stopping) and lack of visibility. Wind gusts reached 120 km/h. The international airport received 1.2 meters of snow in a day and a half, three times more than in 1977. It had still not reopened on Wednesday, December 28.
Rescuers fear the toll will rise as they sift through the 420 calls to emergency services that went unanswered, with firefighters themselves stranded by the blizzard. “Rescuers had to help other rescuers”, Buffalo Deputy Mayor Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney told CNN. that washington post cited the testimony of a nurse who herself was stuck in her ambulance for fourteen hours without water or food. “Unfortunately, we continue to find bodies in the streets and in the snowdrifts”county manager Mark Poloncarz told CNN.
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On Tuesday, three new victims were found in Erie County, including a man who suffered carbon dioxide poisoning when snow covered the vent on his stove. Anndel Taylor, a 22-year-old nurse, died in her car, trapped by snow while driving home to North Carolina, according to her family. Until the last moment, she was able to send videos to her relatives showing the progress of the snow around her vehicle. According to her sister, Tomeshia Brown, the young woman didn’t freeze to death – she wasn’t even wearing her coat – but suffocated. His body was not found until eighteen hours later.
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