National News Desk

At least 23 dead in cold weather over Christmas weekend

Winter Weather Ahead Road Sign
JamesBrey/Getty Images/STOCK

(NEW YORK) — At least 23 people have died from the wintry weather wreaking havoc across the U.S. over Christmas weekend.

The highest number of fatalities are in upstate Erie County, New York, which encompasses Buffalo, where seven deaths were reported.

“This will go down in history as the most devastating storm” in Buffalo, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a Christmas morning news conference.

The “colossal” snow storm brought winds of nearly 80 mph, the governor said.

Buffalo initiated a travel ban as blizzard conditions moved in.

“I cannot overstate how dangerous the conditions still are,” Hochul said Sunday, urging people to stay off the roads on Christmas.

This storm marked the first time in history that the Buffalo Fire Department couldn’t respond to any calls, officials said. National Guardsmen have been called in.

Hundreds of people have been rescued from cars, Hochul said, adding, “we still have people who need to be rescued.”

Buffalo’s airport will be closed until Tuesday.

The storm comes as brutally cold air slams the country on Christmas morning.

The temperature is forecast to plunge to minus 9 degrees in Minneapolis, 2 degrees in Chicago, 3 degrees in Denver, 15 degrees in New York, 16 degrees in Atlanta and 21 degrees in Dallas.

Over 165,000 customers woke up without power on Christmas morning across Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida.

Over 3,000 flights were cancelled into, out of or within the U.S. on Christmas Eve, and more than 1,600 flights are cancelled so far on Christmas Day.

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