At Least 37 Dead as Storm's Misery Continues

Power is coming back online, but flight delays and cold temps are expected to hang around
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2022 6:29 AM CST
Storm's Death Toll Hits at Least 37
High winds and snow covers the streets and vehicles in Buffalo, NY, on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. Millions hunkered down to ride out the frigid storm that has killed at least 34 people across the United States.   (WKBW via AP)

Millions of people hunkered down against a deep freeze Sunday to ride out the winter storm that CNN reports has killed at least 37 people across the United States and is expected to claim more lives after trapping some residents inside houses with heaping snow drifts and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. The scope of the storm has been nearly unprecedented, stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the US population faced some sort of winter weather advisory or warning, and temperatures plummeted drastically below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, the National Weather Service said. A look around the country, per the AP:

  • Travelers’ weather woes are likely to continue, with hundreds of flight cancellations already and more expected after a bomb cyclone—when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm—developed near the Great Lakes, stirring up blizzard conditions, including heavy winds and snow. Some 1,707 domestic and international flights were canceled on Sunday as of about 2pm EDT, according to FlightAware.

  • The storm unleashed its full fury on Buffalo, with hurricane-force winds and snow causing whiteout conditions, paralyzing emergency response efforts. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said almost every fire truck in the city was stranded Saturday and implored people Sunday to respect an ongoing driving ban. Officials said the airport would be shut through Tuesday morning. Daylight revealed cars nearly covered by 6-foot snowdrifts and thousands of houses, some adorned in holiday displays, dark from a lack of power. With snow swirling down untouched and impassable streets, forecasters warned that an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow was possible in some areas through early Monday amid wind gusts of 40mph. Police said Sunday evening that there were two “isolated” instances of looting.
  • The storm knocked out power from Maine to Seattle. But heat and lights were steadily being restored across the US. According to, just over 40,000 customers were without power Monday at 7am EDT—down from a peak of 1.7 million.
  • Concerns about rolling blackouts across eastern states subsided Sunday after PJM Interconnection said its utilities could meet the day’s peak electricity demand. The mid-Atlantic grid operator had called for its 65 million consumers to conserve energy amid the freeze Saturday.

  • Storm-related deaths were reported all over the country: 12 in Erie County, New York, ranging in age from 26 to 93 years old, and another in Niagara County where a 27-year-old man was overcome by carbon monoxide after snow blocked his furnace; 10 in Ohio, including an electrocuted utility worker and those killed in multiple car crashes; six motorists killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky; a Vermont woman struck by a falling branch; an apparently homeless man found amid Colorado's subzero temperatures; and a woman who fell through Wisconsin river ice.
  • In Jackson, Mississippi, city officials on Christmas Day announced that residents must now boil their drinking water due to water lines bursting in the frigid temperatures.
  • In Buffalo, William Kless was up at 3am Sunday. He called his three children at their mother’s house to wish them Merry Christmas and then headed off on his snowmobile for a second day shuttling people from stuck cars and frigid homes to a church operating as a warming shelter. Through heavy, wind-driven snow, he brought about 15 people to the church in Buffalo, including a family of five transported one-by-one. He also got a man in need of dialysis, who had spent 17 hours stranded in his car, back home. “I just felt like I had to,” Kless said.
(More severe weather stories.)

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