After National Guard search, storm death toll stands at 39
The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office reported Friday the death toll from Winter Storm Elliot stands at 39 people and that all previously unidentified bodies have now been identified.
Of the 39 people who died, 17 were found outside. Four died while or just after shoveling snow, Another 11 of the victims were inside their unheated homes. Four more were found dead inside stranded vehicles. Three others died when emergency crews couldn't get to them
Thirty one of the deaths were from the city of Buffalo, and another 7 were in the suburbs. Twenty of the victims were Black, 18 were white and one was Hispanic, Poloncarz said in a Thursday briefing, when identification of all the victims had not yet been made.
The National Guard began conducting door-to-door wellness checks Wednesday morning in neighborhoods that lost power, Poloncarz said. The checks were expected to continue into Friday morning.
"We are fearful that there are individuals who may have perished living alone or two people who are not doing well in an establishment, especially those that still don't have power," Poloncarz said.
The death toll for this storm exceeds any other number on record. Buffalo's Blizzard of '77 had matches the most commonly reported death toll from the Blizzard of ’77 – widely known as Buffalo’s worst storm of all time, at least prior to this week.
It comes approximately one month after a smaller-scale storm Thanksgiving weekend killed 3 people