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Dozens Dead Across US As “Bomb Cyclone” Ushers in One Of U.S.’s Coldest Christmas’

At least 32 people are dead nationwide from deadly winter storms, while EMTs in Buffalo, New York struggle to get through thousands who are stuck on Christmas day. Buffalo emergency works made 50 rescues on Friday and Saturday. The storm, which ravaged Buffalo, could usher in one of the coldest Christmas’ on record in the U.S. Buffalo international airport will remain closed until Tuesday due to low visibility and high winds.

Across the U.S., officials attributed more than a dozen deaths to exposure, car accidents due to freezing-to-the-touch fog and rain car accidents and other effects of the powerful winter storms, including two who died at their home outside of Buffalo, N.Y., when emergency personnel were unable to reach them in the midst of historic snowstorm conditions.

Seven people died in Buffalo, including four people found frozen in cars or in snow banks by emergency services on Christmas Day. Another two had medical emergencies in their homes and were unable to be reached by emergency services. 

Photo by: Anthony Quintano

A powerful winter storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses around the U.S. Saturday, leaving millions of others worrying about the prospect of more power outages and bogged down police, firefighters as snow swept up New York State. The massive winter storm, which brought blizzard conditions to several states and knocked power out to more than a million customers, is still creating chaos on Christmas Day.

Strong winds inside a band of lakes continued to bring blizzard conditions across western New York and Michigan, with Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings scattered throughout the region. The intense low pressure that became a bomb cyclone early Friday and will continue to generate strong winds and lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes into the Northeast, thinning out toward Christmas night. Wind gusts have been clocked at as high as 75 mph in Ohio and New York. 

The potential for stronger weather continues through the weekend, with a powerful storm track moving eastward, stretching from northern Louisiana up into southern Ohio by early Saturday. The bomb-cyclone has moved from the Great Lakes near Canada all the way down to the Rio Grande at the Mexican border, causing thousands of flights to be cancelled. Several tornadoes were among a plethora of bad weather that formed overnight Friday, as the powerful stormline tore across the Central United States, in particular. A quick warmup in the Northwest will cause avalanche conditions and icy driving conditions, which have already led to road closures. 

The aftermath of the bombshell-cyclone has caused blizzard conditions across nearly all states in the nation—and millions of people in New York have been warned to conserve power. The National Weather Service (NWS) warned some areas may see frigid temperatures for minutes after leaving. Strong winds and snow will continue to create blizzard conditions, with visibilities down to just a few hundred feet.

Coast guard vessels, planes, and lifeboat stations working in severe winter conditions, recovered 70 people from the ship. The vessels reached its fishing boat crew on Feb. 13, having traveled through over 150 miles of ice.

Cover image: Jason Safoutin

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