New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Sunday said this weekend’s major winter storm is the most devastating to hit Buffalo.
“We are in a war,” Hochul said during a news conference on Christmas Day. “This is a war with mother nature, and she has been hitting us with everything she has since the late hours of Thursday into Friday, Saturday and now on Christmas morning. And this will go down in history as the most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long storied history of having battled many battles, many, many major storms.”
The major storm system has brought dangerously low temperatures and frozen precipitation to large swaths of the country, with the system now bringing lake-effect snow to Buffalo and nearby areas, creating blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has recorded 43 inches of snow at Buffalo’s airport, with more snow expected on Sunday. The area remains under a winter storm warning.
Hochul, a Buffalo native, said at Sunday’s briefing that she could not overstate the dangers of current conditions.
“All of us think in historic and epic terms, but this one is for the ages, and we’re still in the middle of it,” Hochul said. “We still have people who need to be rescued, we have people with their power off in our communities and buildings where pipes are bursting and flooding is occurring, as is happening in my own home right now.”
Mark Poloncarz, the executive of Erie County, N.Y., which includes Buffalo, confirmed seven fatalities from the storm earlier on Sunday. Officials have imposed a driving ban for the entire county.
“This is not the Christmas any of us hoped for nor expected, but try to have as merry a Christmas as possible today,” Poloncarz wrote on Twitter. “Remember the holiday spirit and why we’re a community of good neighbors. Again, my deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.”