The deep freeze from a deadly winter storm that walloped much of the United States will last into the week, as people in western New York deal with massive snow drifts that snarled emergency vehicles and travellers across the country face cancelled flights and dangerous roads.
The massive storm has killed at least 34 people in the United States and is expected to kill more after trapping some residents inside their homes and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
The severe weather stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along Mexico’s border. Approximately 60% of the U.S. population was subjected to some form of winter weather advisory or warning, and temperatures plummeted significantly below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.
The National Weather Service said on Sunday that the frigid arctic air “enveloping much of the eastern half of the United States will be slow to moderate.”
That’s especially bad news for Buffalo, where hurricane-force winds and snow caused whiteout conditions that slowed emergency response efforts.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday that nearly every fire truck in the city was stranded and urged residents to obey a regional driving ban that is still in effect. The airport will be closed until Tuesday morning, according to officials. The National Weather Service reported 43 inches (109 centimetres) of snow at Buffalo Niagara International Airport at 7 a.m. Sunday.
Huge snowdrifts nearly covered cars, and thousands of houses were dark due to a lack of power, with some adorned in unlit holiday displays.