Twelve Dead in Buffalo Due to Arctic Storm – Emergency Crews, National Guard Responding to Rescue Efforts at Airport Control Tower

Posted originally on the CTH on December 25, 2022 | Sundance 

Buffalo New York is known for its extreme snow and cold weather as an outcome of Lake Erie and the ‘lake effect’ snow created.  However, the current arctic storm is making even normally bad Buffalo even more dangerous.

Up to twelve people have been killed after they were trapped in their vehicles and currently rescue operations are underway at the airport to recover air traffic controllers who were stranded in the control tower.

(Reuters) – A deadly blizzard paralyzed Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Day, trapping motorists in their cars, knocking out electricity to thousands of homes and raising the death toll from a severe winter storm system that has chilled much of the United States for days.

At least 30 people have died in U.S. weather-related incidents, according to an NBC News tally, since a deep freeze gripped most of the nation, coupled with snow, ice and howling winds from a storm that roared out of the Great Lakes region late last week.

Much of the loss of life has centered in and around Buffalo at the edge of Lake Erie in western New York, as numbing cold and heavy “lake-effect” snow — the result of frigid air moving over warmer lake waters — persisted through the holiday weekend.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the storm’s confirmed death toll climbed to 12 on Sunday, up from three reported overnight in the Buffalo region. The latest victims included some found in cars and some in snow banks, Poloncarz said, adding that the death tally might rise further.

Despite a ban imposed on driving since Friday, hundreds of Erie County motorists were stranded in their vehicles over the weekend, with National Guard troops called in to help with rescues complicated by white-out conditions and drifting snow, Poloncarz said.

“This is not the Christmas any of us hoped for nor expected,” Poloncarz said on Twitter on Sunday. “My deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.

The Buffalo police department posted an online plea for the public assistance in search-and-recovery efforts, asking those who “have a snow mobile and are willing to help” to call a special hotline for instructions.  The severity of the storm was notable even for a region well accustomed to harsh winter weather. (more)

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