The "once-in-a-lifetime" blizzard that hit the nation last Friday left about 63 people dead in the United States, according to NBC. Freezing temperatures accompanied by heavy snowfall continue to devastate parts of the country.
The worst affected is Erie County in the state of New York, with 33 deaths in the region alone.
Meteorologists said the storm, dubbed a "bomb cyclone", was caused by the collision of cold air from the north and warm, moist air from the south.
Deaths were reported in 12 states, including Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
New York's Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed to The Weather Channel that the dead included people found in their homes, trapped in cars and outside. Some died from heart complications while shoveling snow and others because emergency crews couldn't respond to medical emergencies due to blocked roads.
"This is not the Christmas any of us hoped for or expected," Poloncarz said on Twitter. "My condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones."
The city of Buffalo knows snow storms. According to data from the US National Weather Service, the "snow capital" averaged 96 feet of snow between 2000 and 2021. Department of Public Works Commissioner Nathan Martin told NBC News that the snowfall the city has experienced is beyond what they typically expect in the winter season.
According to The Weather Channel, military police and law enforcement are en route to Buffalo, New York to enforce a driving ban the city issued this week.
Although New York suffered the most brutal impact, Winter Storm Elliott also affected other parts of the country. 60% of the US population was under a winter weather advisory last Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
According to Flightaware.com, airlines canceled roughly 20,000 flights over the Christmas weekend alone. As of 4:00 PM EST, approximately 3,049 flights to or from the US have been canceled.
Washington, D.C. experienced record low temperatures on Christmas Day and Orlando, Fla. experienced its coldest Christmas in more than 30 years.
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