The death toll from the snowstorm that ravaged western New York has increased to seven, with the weather finally easing up on Christmas morning, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

According to ABC News, at least 23 individuals have perished as a result of cold weather in the United States. Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Ohio all reported fatalities, including four in Sandusky, Ohio, following a huge pileup on the Ohio Turnpike involving at least 50 automobiles.

Poloncarz stated during a press conference on Christmas morning that at least three of the deaths were caused by people who had medical issues and were unable to contact first responders due to the snow conditions.

A winter storm rolls through Western New York Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Amherst N.Y. A battering winter storm has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes  homes and businesses across the United States on Saturday. It left millions more to worry about the prospect of further outages and crippled police and fire departments. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

“We had to save firefighters, police officers, and EMTs,” Poloncarz explained. “I’m not sure what else we could have done when the rescuers needed to be rescued.

“Poloncarz later stated in a statement that National Grid has reported 26,000 power outages in Erie County, with over 20,000 of those outages in Buffalo.

“There are downed power lines, but the main cause of large-scale power outages is frozen and malfunctioning substations,” Poloncarz explained.

On Christmas morning, more than 161,000 consumers were still without power across the United States, with 78,603 in Maine and 40,865 in the whole state of New York without power.

According to the NWS, Americans should expect “a chilly start for Christmas morning” before a “strong storm” approaches the western United States this week.

“A fast-moving storm is expected to dive southward across the center of the country, bringing wind, heavy snow, and a wintry mix to the Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley,” according to the statement.

Wind chill warnings were issued to over 55 million people on Sunday morning. This includes frost warnings for the whole South.

Sleet, commonly known as ice pellets, has been confirmed in the Rockledge, Viera, and Merritt Island districts of Brevard County, according to the National Weather Service office in Florida. In Florida, almost 10,000 consumers are without electricity.

Further south, a high of 22 degrees was felt in Knoxville, Tenn., and a high of 26 degrees was felt in Greensboro, N.C. In Columbia, South Carolina, a record-low high temperature of 28 degrees was also recorded.

Saturday’s maximum temperature in Chicago was 13 degrees, while the low was minus 1.

Temperatures in Buffalo were approximately 21 degrees on Sunday, after reaching only 4 degrees on Saturday with a windchill as low as -21 degrees.

Poloncarz stated that majority of Buffalo is still “impassable” and urged locals not to go out to try to save relatives and friends.

“This is not the Christmas that any of us expected or hoped for, but try to have as happy a Christmas as possible today. Thank you to everyone who got into the holiday spirit by assisting their neighbors in need “He stated.

“Once again, my heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones.”

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a “very heavy lake-effect snow band” for Chautauqua County through 1:15 p.m.

According to the NWS, snowfall totals at Buffalo Airport surpassed 43 inches, or more than 3.5 feet, as of 6:55 a.m. on Christmas morning.

Residents in Portland, Oregon, should expect ice accumulations of up to an inch, as well as power outages and downed tree branches, according to the NWS, which issued an ice storm warning through Tuesday AM.

According to the NWS, there is a 97% chance of more than a foot of snow in neighboring Idaho this week.

Meanwhile, sections of the southwest saw a warm Christmas, with Phoenix reaching a high temperature of 72 degrees.

The NWS office in San Diego announced on Twitter that temperatures at its Rancho Bernardo office had reached 80 degrees by 11:05 a.m.

“Enjoy the pleasant weather, friends!” said the NWS office in San Diego.

According to FlightAware, an online flight tracker, there were 5,363 delays and 2,065 cancellations for US flights on Sunday.

According to FlightAware, over 20% of the flight cancellations were reported for planes coming and departing from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.


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