New York will deploy 100 National Guard police officers and additional New York State troopers to enforce a driving ban in Buffalo amid what Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has called the “blizzard of the century,” according to ABC News.
Of the 30 confirmed deaths in New York related to the blizzard, 28 are from Erie County, where Buffalo is located, according to ABC; three of those people died due to EMS not being able to get to them on time to handle medical emergencies. Authorities have found 18 bodies around the city, mostly in cars, and plan to start issuing summonses to those caught driving as people continue to flout the ban and get stuck in the snow.
Buffalo was hit with more than 50 inches of snow and winds of nearly 80 miles per hour over Christmas weekend, according to ABC. Erie is littered with hundreds of abandoned cars facing in different directions on and near various roadways. (RELATED: ‘The Pain Is Overwhelming’: Buffalo Man Found Dead On Street In Storm)
This is unbelievable wall of snow that crews are still working on removing from Route 33 – the Kensington Expressway in Erie County pic.twitter.com/kRn17qAK4V
— NYSDOT Western NY (@NYSDOTBuffalo) December 27, 2022
“There are cars everywhere pointing the wrong direction on roads. They’ve basically been plowed in and need to be dug out and towed,” Mark Poloncarz, the executive of Erie County, told ABC.
Getting the latest from @NYSDOT on efforts to clear Route 33 and other highways in the Buffalo area. Snow is still coming down and roads are extremely dangerous. Please do not drive and follow the guidance of local officials. pic.twitter.com/v2DX4Z1dxx
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) December 26, 2022
The city is also experiencing looting: More than half of the gas stations in the county reported being inoperable due to looting-related property damage, according to the Erie County commissioner of Emergency Services.
“I’m heartbroken about the deaths, just absolutely devastated to see as many deaths. And then to find out that there’s looting going on in our community at the same time we’re still recovering bodies is just horrible,” Poloncarz said.
Throughout the storm 23,000 homes lost power, and 12,473 remained without power Monday, according to ABC.
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