Emergency crews in New York were scrambling Monday to rescue marooned residents from what authorities called the “blizzard of the century,” a relentless storm that has left nearly 50 people dead across the United States and caused Christmas travel chaos.
Blizzard conditions persist in parts of the US Northeast, the stubborn remnants of a massive sprawl of extreme weather that gripped the country over several days, causing widespread power outages, travel delays and at least 49 deaths across nine states, according to official figures.
In New York state, authorities have described ferocious conditions, particularly in Buffalo, with hours-long whiteouts, bodies being discovered in vehicles and under snow banks, and emergency personnel going “car to car” searching for more motorists — alive or dead.
The perfect storm of fierce snow squalls, howling wind and sub-zero temperatures forced the cancellation of more than 15,000 US flights in recent days, including over 3,800 on Monday, according to tracking site Flightaware.com.
Buffalo — a city in Erie County that is no stranger to foul winter weather — is the epicenter of the crisis, buried under staggering amounts of snow.