As a relentless winter storm continues to blow through much of the eastern US, local officials have begun announcing deaths, including 25 people who were killed in the area of Buffalo, New York.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Monday that the county medical examiner’s office determined the causes of death were directly related to the snowstorm. Some of the victims were found in their homes, in their cars, and on the street, he said. Poloncarz also noted that many of the deaths were due to cardiac reactions to snow shoveling and snow blowing. One person died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It’s absolutely devastating to see this many deaths,” he said in a press conference. “We have the worst storm, probably in our lifetime, and maybe in the history of the city.”
Erie County saw some of the worst of the storm, with some areas reporting as much as 49 inches of snow by early Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The storm made roads impassable, froze power stations, and left abandoned cars and buses “everywhere, pointing in the wrong direction,” Poloncarz said. Local news reported that this was the snowiest calendar year the city had seen since at least 1939.