“There still are probably additional deaths that will be announced later today,” Poloncarz said.
A severe snowstorm in western New York over Christmas weekend has killed at least 25 people, Erie county officials said on Monday.
This is coming as road and utility crews faced a long day of digging out the snowed-in region around Buffalo.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told reporters at a Monday morning briefing that the county’s tally of storm-related deaths had jumped by 12 overnight, and included cases of people who were found in snow banks, in their cars or who had died from cardiac events while plowing or blowing snow.
More deaths had been reported, Poloncarz said, but the county medical examiner was trying to determine if they were directly attributable to the weather.
The blizzard, deemed the area’s worst in 45 years, took form late on Friday and pummeled western New York through the Christmas holiday weekend. It capped an Arctic freeze and winter storm front that had extended over most of the United States for days, stretching as far south as the Mexican border.
At least 55 people have died in U.S. weather-related incidents since late last week, according to an NBC News tally.
The greater Buffalo region, on the edge of Lake Erie near the Canadian border, has been one of the hardest-hit places. Cars and buses were buried under towering snow drifts and high-lift equipment was being used for hospital transports where ambulances could not drive.
Up to a foot of snow was still forecast to fall through Tuesday in some areas south of Buffalo and north of Syracuse.