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Snow continues in Buffalo, death toll rises to 34

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Storm-battered Buffalo braced Tuesday for fresh snow while still striving to recover from an epic blizzard that killed at least 34 people, stranded others in cars for days and shuttered the city’s airport.

The National Weather Service predicted that as much as 2 inches of snow could fall Tuesday in Erie County, which includes Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York, with about 275,000 residents.

While that’s nothing like the massive storm that dropped over 4 feet of snow in some places starting on Christmas Eve, “any additional snowfall that Buffalo may continue to have today is going to be impactful,” said lead forecaster Bob Oravec.

“The biggest impact is going to be how it hinders the removal of the previous snowfall,” he said.

The rest of the United States also was reeling from the ferocious winter storm, with at least an additional two dozen deaths reported in other parts of the country, and power outages in communities from Maine to Washington state.

In Buffalo, the dead were found in cars, homes and snowbanks. Some died while shoveling snow, others when emergency crews could not respond in time to medical crises. County Executive Mark Poloncarz called the blizzard “the worst storm probably in our lifetime,” even for an area known for heavy snow.

Mayor Byron Brown’s office announced seven additional storm-related deaths Tuesday, bringing Buffalo’s total to 27, along with at least seven suburban fatalities.

Trisha LoGrasso and her family were still huddled around a space heater in a makeshift hut in her Buffalo living room Monday. She was without heat because of a gas leak, the temperature inside the home was 42 degrees, and burst pipes left her with no running water.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, and this is the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” the 48-year-old said.

President Joe Biden offered federal assistance Monday to hard-hit New York, while Gov. Kathy Hochul toured the aftermath in Buffalo — her hometown — and called the blizzard “one for the ages.” Almost every fire truck in the city became stranded Saturday, she said.

Hochul, a Democrat, noted the storm came a little over a month after the region was inundated with another “historic” snowfall. Between the two storms, snowfall totals are not far off from the 95.4 inches the area normally sees in an entire winter season.

The National Weather Service said the snow total at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport stood at 49.2 inches at 10 a.m. Monday. Officials say the airport will be shut through Wednesday morning.

Some 2,872 domestic and international U.S. flights were canceled Tuesday as of about 8 a.m. Eastern time, according to the tracking site FlightAware.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it will look into flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines that left travelers stranded at airports across the country amid the winter storm. Many airlines were forced to cancel flights, but Southwest was by far the leader.

  • Snow covers the new South Shore Double Track on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Michigan City, Ind. (Donavan Barrier/La Porte County Herald-Dispatch via AP)
  • A city worker in a wheel loader clears snow on Norwood Avenue as crews work through the night to reopen the city after a deadly blizzard over the weekend, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • Carmelo Santiago pushes his bicycle down Rhode Island Street in Buffalo, N.Y., on his way back from a store where he ventured out to restock on supplies, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • Workers use heavy equipment to clear snow from Richmond Avenue in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • Neighbors help push a motorist stuck in the snow in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • Tommy Roetzer digs out his driveway on West Delavan Street in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • Utility trucks line up in Buffalo, N.Y., where thousands remain without electricity after sustained blizzard conditions on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Joseph Cooke/The Buffalo News via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Jeff Leichtnam kids play on closed, snow-covered Route 198 in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. The expressway has not re-opened since a blizzard roared through on Friday and Saturday. (Jeff Leichtnam via AP)
  • A group of neighbors gather around a fire pit on Culver Road after clearing snow in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. The region is digging out from a pre-Christmas blizzard that delivered hurricane-force winds and more than 4 feet of snow. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
  • The lake front is almost invisible due to the high winds blowing snow across the frozen mouth of Trail Creek in La Porte County, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (Donavan Barrier/La Porte County Herald-Dispatch via AP)

Associated Press journalist Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report.