More than 30 people are reported to have died in the region
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- State and military police were sent Tuesday to keep people off Buffalo's snow-choked roads, and officials kept counting fatalities three days after western New York's deadliest storm in at least two generations.
Even as suburban roads and most major highways in the area reopened, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz warned that police would be stationed at entrances to Buffalo and at major intersections because some drivers were flouting a ban on driving within New York's second-most populous city.
More than 30 people are reported to have died in the region, officials said, including seven storm-related deaths announced Tuesday by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown's office. The toll surpasses that of the historic Blizzard of 1977, blamed for killing as many as 29 people in an area known for harsh winter weather.
Greg Monett turned to social media to beg for help shovelling a six-foot (1.8-metre) pile of snow from the end of his Buffalo driveway so he could get dialysis treatment Tuesday.
"This has been a nightmare," he said in an interview Monday. Power had been out for a time at his family's home, he said, so relatives ran a gas stove to keep warm, a practice he acknowledged was dangerous.
"We had to do what we had to do," said Monett, 43. "We would have froze to death in here."
His loved ones called 911 when his blood sugar dipped dangerously low and he nearly passed out Sunday night, but they were told it would take hours to get to the home, Monett said. He eventually recovered on his own.
Officials have said at news briefings that it was impossible to respond to emergency calls at the time.
Monett ultimately made it to dialysis after climbing through the snow and having neighbors help dig out his buried vehicle, sister Maria Monett said.
A Facebook group originally created in 2014, when Buffalo was buried under deep snow, has become a lifeline, seeking to help thousands seeking food, medicine, shelter and rescue in the latest storm. Currently managed by five women, the group swelled to at least 68,000 people as of Tuesday.
“We are seeing a lot of desperation," said Erin Aquilinia, founder of the original group, in an online interview.
The National Weather Service predicted that as much as 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) more snow could fall Tuesday in Erie County, which includes Buffalo and its 275,000 residents.
County Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth Jr. said officials also were somewhat concerned about possible flooding later in the week when milder weather begins.