At least 55 killed in 'once-in-a-lifetime' blizzard across US
Nationwide, temperatures plummeted, and huge snow drifts have trapped people inside their homes and snarled travel.
At least 55 Americans have died in a "once-in-a-lifetime" blizzard, including 25 in western New York's Erie County, as per officials on Monday.
The number of fatalities from the enormous storm was predicted to rise as snow continued to cover Erie County, making roads in many parts unusable, including most of Buffalo.
"We can see sort of the light at the end of the tunnel, but this is not the end yet," Poloncarz said. "We are not there."
Erie County was supposed to have snowfall through Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures across the country plunged, as massive snowdrifts delayed traffic and kept people inside their homes.
As of Monday morning, NBC News reported that the storm, which spanned from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande near the Mexican border, had claimed the lives of at least 55 individuals. Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin were the 12 states where the deaths were reported.
The 25 fatalities in Erie County were found to be specifically attributable to the blizzard by the medical examiner's office, as per Poloncarz.
Poloncarz went on to say that many people who died while shoveling or blowing snow had cardiac conditions, adding that others were discovered deceased inside their vehicles.
He also stated that carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for at least one death in Niagara County.
According to Buffalo's mayor, Byron Brown, at least 18 people perished there on Monday.
Some of those fatalities are not recorded in the county's official count, but the county is working to corroborate those.
The storm's severity was unparalleled in the area, according to Poloncarz. He claimed that the snow fell "with a vengeance."
“It’s a generational storm," he said, and the county has yet to begin evaluating the "full toll".
A "belt of heavy lake effect snow" in the Buffalo area was causing 2 to 3 inches of hourly snowfall, with accumulations reaching 6 to 12 inches and as much as 1 to 2 feet for Jefferson and northern Lewis counties, National Weather Service said in its 6:43 am bulletin.