New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently made headlines when she deployed National Guard troops to Buffalo after a devastating blizzard.
According to ABC News, extreme winter weather conditions caused havoc across the United States late last week, causing at least 57 fatalities.
Thirty-five of those deaths took place in western New York, with 34 occurring in Erie County, which is home to Buffalo. An additional fatality was seen in neighboring Niagara County.
This is bad
ABC News quoted Hochul as saying at a press conference on Monday her state is suffering under “the blizzard of the century.”
The lake band is still raging, but it’s now south of the airport. Here’s a view of our office with some rather impressive snow mounds in the foreground. Many (many) cars are still buried throughout the area. pic.twitter.com/owto22GbF6
— NWS Buffalo (@NWSBUFFALO) December 25, 2022
Mark Poloncarz serves as executive of Erie County, and he said last Wednesday that National Guard personnel would help emergency service personnel conduct door-to-door medical wellness checks.
Poloncarz added that the soldiers would also assist law enforcement in enforcing a driving ban, saying, “People just are not obeying the driving ban.”
This includes sightseers from out of town who “are getting more than they bargained for with regards to their ‘winter wonderland tour.'”
State Police are assisting snow removal crews with search and rescue. Erie County driving ban is still in affect. Stay off the roads, unnecessary vehicles traveling hinder crews from rescue and rescue. pic.twitter.com/Zq8dAplvyf
— NewYorkStatePolice (@nyspolice) December 26, 2022
What’s more, he noted that there have been reports of sporadic looting as criminals take advantage of the paralyzing weather.
“I’m heartbroken about the deaths, just absolutely devastated to see as many deaths,” Poloncarz declared. “And then to find out that there’s looting going on in our community at the same time we’re still recovering bodies is just horrible.”
Daniel Neaverth Jr. is Erie County commissioner of Emergency Services, and ABC News quoted him as saying that the looting has hindered efforts to help storm victims.
He explained that emergency vehicles are unable to use a number of gas stations “because the convenience side of them has been looted and the equipment inside has been rendered ineffective and thus the pumps for the fueling are ineffective.”
“So if you don’t think there’s a trickle down from going looting and grabbing individual little things, this is a drastic implication for us that we now have to deal with to find alternate fuel sources,” Neaverth pointed out.