Bodies found in cars, homes as deaths rise in US snow storm

TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (MNA) – The death toll from the historic blizzard across the U.S. climbed to 65 on Tuesday as record snowfall blocked roads, hindering rescue operations, officials said.

The deadly bomb cyclone that has battered parts of the US is continuing to rake up a death toll, as bodies are being discovered in cars and homes that have been snowed in. Some people died as ambulances could not reach them in time. Others suffered cardiac arrests while shovelling snow.

Confirming seven additional deaths in Buffalo, the mayor of the city Byron Brown said that the storm was "probably worse than anything that this city has seen in over 50 years."

At a news conference later Tuesday, Brown said another body had been recovered. By the end of the afternoon, Erie County's medical examiner had confirmed three additional deaths, raising the storm-related death toll to 32 for the county, which recorded the vast majority of New York's 34 deaths.

Erie County, which includes Buffalo, was at the center of the storm's most intense, blinding conditions. With wind, it felt like minus 13 at Greater Buffalo International Airport over the weekend, according to National Weather Service data.

Too many people were disregarding the ban on driving in unsafe weather conditions, County Executive Mark Poloncarz told media during a briefing on the recovery efforts in Erie County, which includes Buffalo. Speaking on Tuesday as another two inches (5.08 cm) of snow were predicted to fall by the end of the day in the area, Poloncarz pleaded with residents:

"Please, I'm begging, stay home... Please, please, do not drive in the city of Buffalo, unless you are emergency personnel."

100 military police along with troops from the New York State Police Department have been brought in to help with the search-and-rescue operations, added Mark Poloncarz.

He explained that they would be stationed at entrances to Buffalo and at major intersections to enforce the driving ban still in place. According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gragmalia, looting was "still going on" in some parts of the city, with four people arrested to date.

Meanwhile, around 4,000 people in the area remain without power and thousands of flights have been cancelled, with people stranded at airports.

The meteorological term for the weather phenomenon that has gripped parts of the US throughout the Christmas holidays is "bombogenesis," and it happens when a storm system's central pressure drops at least 24 millibars within 24 hours.

As the National Weather Service cautiously predicted that Tuesday's snow might be the last, officials warned that warming temperatures in the region might lead to flooding as snow begins to thaw. This set Erie County authorities in a rush to remove ice and blockages from storm drains.


News Code 195460


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