Two people died in a separate incident at their home when first responders failed to reach them. does not have emergency services. A doctor was guiding a woman over the phone who was giving birth to his sister’s baby at home. People were stuck in restaurants as well as homes that night, he said.
“This was a very bad night for our community,” Polonkers said. “Thankfully the sun is coming up.”
“This could be the worst storm in the history of our community, surpassing the deadly blizzard of 1977,” he added.
He said emergency response is not available in about two-thirds of the areas affected by the blizzard. The emergency vehicle itself was stuck in the snow. At the Buffalo airport he got over 27.8 inches of snow. “It’s not something we’re proud of,” Polonkaerts said.
He warned people not to call 911 or an emergency storm number unless there was a life-threatening crisis. There was concern that we were regurgitating natural gas exhaust back into our homes.
Governor Kathy Hochul (Democrat) ordered the National Guard to respond, and troops headed for the worst-hit areas of the region.
The Erie County area was forecast to continue to see snow throughout the day, possibly through early Christmas. Day, Polonkatz said.
Buffalo may have witnessed the worst of the monster storm, but few areas were immune to the cold, ice, snow and wind that ravaged the nation in the past two days. Temperatures in Houston on Saturday were below freezing, and much of the Midwest had below zero wind chill.
At least 1.5 million people were without power on Friday, and temperatures plummeted, sometimes at record-breaking rates. More than 1.6 million people were without power as of 11 a.m. Saturday, with hundreds of thousands without power in Tennessee and Kentucky, according to PowerOutage.us.
FedEx said Saturday that inclement weather is causing disruption to its hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis, and that delays in deliveries by Monday may be expected.
Air travel has been disrupted with thousands of flights canceled. A blizzard weighed down the Great Lakes region. Even winter-tested cities like Chicago and Detroit have closed holiday attractions and urged people to stay indoors.
The storm, described by the National Weather Service as a “once-in-a-generation,” began Thursday and is expected to last through Christmas weekend, eventually clearing a 2,000-mile road through much of the country. The danger zone stretched from Canada to Mexico, Washington to Florida.
Jason Samenow, Danielle Paquette, and Emmanuel Felton contributed to this report.
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