- Madeline Halpert
- BBC News – Washington
A massive winter storm battering North America has claimed more lives in New York state, local officials have confirmed.
Marc Poloncars, an official in Erie County, where Buffalo is located, confirmed 34 deaths on Wednesday. Local authorities are still trying to identify three victims.
The storm, which battered the United States over the past weekend, killed more than 60 people in eight US states.
“It is a terrifying storm that has left a very large number of deaths,” Boloncars said at a news conference on Wednesday morning. Despite this, conditions began to improve in the areas most affected by this climatic phenomenon.
About 1,000 households in the county are still without power, while about 95 percent of Erie residents are expected to have power back on by the end of the day Wednesday, according to Poloncars.
The city of Buffalo, which had about 1.2 meters of snow, made significant progress clearing roads, according to Erie officials.
Polonkars said that 65 percent of roads now contain at least one lane suitable for walking, although driving is still prohibited due to the dangerous conditions caused by bad weather.
Meanwhile, work has resumed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport at eleven in the morning local time after a closure that has continued since last Friday, while the work of the railway lines has resumed in a limited way.
And the US National Guard is going door-to-door in neighborhoods in the county where medical examinations can no longer be conducted due to the aftermath of the storm, as local officials fear that some residents living alone may have died due to the bad weather.
As the temperature improves and the snow melts, the US county is bracing for potential flooding, according to Marc Poloncars.
Elsewhere in the United States and Canada, residents are still dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm.
Gusty winds and heavy rains have seen states in the western United States and in the Rocky Mountains region.
The Meteorological Center predicted that “the rapid, deep storm may lead to flash floods and thunderstorms”, which are the weather phenomena that are expected to occur at the end of next week.
The storm has already caused flooding in the western states of Washington and Oregon, with about 80,000 people without power as of Wednesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
Olympia, the capital of the US state of Washington, saw a record 5.6 metres, according to local officials.
Some Canadians are also experiencing power outages due to the superstorm, including 19,000 people in the province of Quebec, according to Canada’s Hydro Quebec Electric Company.
And in the Canadian province of Ontario, 10,000 people are still without power so far, according to power company Hydro One.