The death toll from the massive winter storm that brought blizzard conditions to Erie, Niagara, and Genesee counties has grown again.
On Wednesday, officials in Erie announced that 37 had died from the blizzard. There were 29 confirmed deaths in the city of Buffalo with 7 more in the suburbs. One additional person died at an unknown location.
Niagara County reported one death, too.
The National Guard was going door-to-door in neighborhoods that lost power for an extended period of time. They were performing wellness checks, ensuring no one died in homes that didn’t have power.
People relied on Facebook groups to communicate during the storm with others in the area who were hard hit.
Governor Kathy Hochul said the state would provide flood risk resources ahead of a major warm-up. One that will not only bring high temperatures in the 40s and 50s, but rainfall too.
A total of 611 National Guard soldiers have been deployed to Western New York.
Governor Hochul directed state agencies Wednesday to prepare flood response assets as flooding is possible later this week in the Buffalo area as temperatures rise and snow begins to melt. “As we turn the corner on this historic winter storm, New York State is continuing to stay prepared ahead of potentially dangerous flooding conditions,” Governor Hochul said. “Our state agency personnel and local emergency responders have been coordinating throughout the storm, and we will continue to do everything we can to protect Western New Yorkers and help our communities recover.”
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), the Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Parks) are coordinating with one another and conducting outreach to local municipalities regarding locations that may need assistance with flooding concerns later in the week as temperatures rise. Although lake effect snow bands have mostly tapered off across the state, temperatures are expected to gradually increase throughout the week with most regions of the state seeing temperatures into the low-50s by Friday and throughout the weekend. Flooding is possible later in the week and this weekend due to snowmelt and ice jam breakups. Vulnerable locations include creeks, streams and low-lying, poor-drainage areas.
DEC is working closely with state and local agencies to coordinate flood mitigation equipment including pumps and sandbags in the event mitigation is needed to protect homes, businesses, or infrastructure from flooding or swelling waterways. This is in addition to ongoing coordination by multiple State agencies and authorities with local governments and law enforcement in the region to help free stranded vehicles and clear homes and major streets, among other storm response actions. Other State agencies supporting these efforts include the Office of General Services, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and the Department of Transportation. Additional resources will continue to be deployed as needs arise.
To support these operations, the following resources are available to deploy from the State’s stockpiles in Erie and Monroe Counties:
- 185 two-inch Pumps
- 91 three-inch Pumps
- 44 four-inch pumps
- 14 six-inch pumps
- 312 Generators
- 4 Sandbaggers
- More than 775,000 sandbags
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