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More snow, death expected Monday, as region digs out

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BTPM Photo/Amanda Robert
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While much of the region take a pause to dig out from three days of snow and bitter wind chills, law enforcements expects the death toll — already at 27 — to rise, and the National Weather Service in Buffalo is warning of more snow through Tuesday afternoon.

Officials are also urging compliance with the driving bans that remain in Amherst, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Evans, Hamburg, and Lackawanna, as snow removal crews try to clear streets.

A Winter Weather Advisory calls for an additional accumulation of 4 to 9 inches in the most persistent snow bands by Tuesday afternoon.

Twenty-seven deaths were reported in Erie County, with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz warning that “last night was a rough night,” and more deaths are expected to be confirmed Monday. Most of those deaths were outside, during three days of bitter cold weather where wind chills reached -22 below.

Buffalo Police report 10 of those storm related deaths were within city limits, both outside and in cars. They say 911 has reports of other fatalities that they have yet to reach and recover. The department "is working very hard to complete welfare checks in an effort to reduce potential deaths," officials said in a statement.

Cold air in place through Tuesday will continue to support accumulating lake snows east and northeast of both lakes Erie and Ontario, the National Weather Service says.

This follows three days of snowfall that left as much as 49 inches at the Buffalo Airport, over 39 inches in Hamburg, and 34 inches in Orchard Park and just outside Williamsville.

SEE 3-DAY SNOWFALL LISTINGS HERE | CLOSINGS and CANCELLATIONS | HEAR MORE from NPR's HERE & NOW | PHOTOS: Winter Storm Elliot

“It was the worst I have ever seen, and I lived through the Blizzard of ’77,” Poloncarz said in an early Monday afternoon briefing with Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

Western New York saw days of sustained blizzard conditions, which dropped over 48 inches of snow and sent temperatures plummeting to minus 22 degrees when accounting for wind chill. The region accounted for 27 of the overall storm-related deaths across the country.

As of 12:45 Monday afternoon, National Grid reported that they have restored service to 89,500 of more than 100,000 custmers.

Plow operations remain focused on life safety, hospitals and other facilities, county officials said.

SMITH STREET Dec 25 2022 Snow Blizzard Elliot
Amanda Robert/BTPM Photo
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A semi tractor trailer in the snow at the Smith St exit of the Northbound 190, December 25, 2022

The following state routes remain closed for safety until weather conditions improve:

  • Route 5 (I-90 to Big Tree)
  • Route 219 (I-90 to Peters Road)
  • Route 400 (I-90 to Route 16)
  • I-90 (through Niagara County)
  • I-290 (entire)
  • Route 198 (entire)
  • I-990 (entire)

Snowfall that continues through Tuesday will be very fluffy in nature and should result in lower impacts,” the Weather Service says.

Dave Debo's journalism career runs the gamut from public radio to commercial radio, from digital projects to newspapers. With over 30 years of experience, he's produced national television news programs and has worked as both a daily and weekly print journalist and web editor.