The region around Buffalo, New York, was hit by a snowstorm with heavy winds, and as a result, sixteen people have died, which the governor of the state has termed as “devastating.”
According to a statement released by the Buffalo Police Department on Sunday night, the deceased were discovered either outdoors or in vehicles, and there were reports of even more fatalities that were being investigated.
“Authorities have additional 911 calls regarding dead bodies that police are also working diligently to get to confirm and recover,” the department said. “BPD also is working very hard to complete welfare checks in an effort to reduce potential deaths.”
The number of storm-related fatalities reported by the agency rose to ten from six earlier on Sunday. According to the statement made by the department, the police have located and removed a total of four remains and have determined that there are at least six more.
There have been an additional six weather-related fatalities recorded in Erie County, which is located outside of the city. According to a count by NBC News late on Sunday, the number of fatalities that may be attributed to the severe weather that occurred during the holiday weekend stood at 46.
During a press conference, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said that several of the deceased bodies of volunteers were discovered after emergency response times were delayed due to impassable roadways.
Poloncarz said that it seemed as if other people passed away from cardiac-related issues while removing snow. The act of physically removing snow when temperatures are falling might increase the risk of cardiovascular complications by narrowing arteries and elevating blood pressure.
At the same press conference, the Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul, said that she had assessed some of the damage and that it is horrific.
According to Hochul, the magnitude of the storm would be greater than that of the well-known blizzard that occurred in 1977 in terms of the strength and severity of the winds. According to information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the former storm was responsible for the fatalities of 29 people.
According to the grid tracker PowerOutage.us, there were more than 13,000 consumers in the state who did not have power early on Monday morning. Poloncarz said that the electricity might not be completely restored until Tuesday.
According to Poloncarz, a significant area of Buffalo remains inaccessible. He warned people to refrain from traveling to Buffalo to rescue loved ones.
“It was bad is the best way to put it,” Poloncarz said. “It was as bad as anyone has ever seen it.”
“This will go down in history as the most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long, storied history of having battled many battles, many major storms,” Hocul stated on Sunday.