The human toll of the “blizzard of the century” has seen Buffalo, New York hit the hardest with over half of the victims coming from the region. It is estimated that at least 60 people have died across the country due to the severe weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Buffalo has increased to 37 as officials warn that they expect to find more bodies over the coming days.
In a news briefing this week, Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said: “We are going to recover more bodies.
“We are pretty certain that there’s going to be more deaths uncovered that we just cannot see at this point.”
Emergency services and road crews were continuing to clear roads of snow and abandoned vehicles six days after the snow began to fall across the region.
The city of Buffalo was buried in almost 52 inches (132cm) of snow and emergency responders can now check on people they could not reach before the snow was cleared.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz paid tribute to first responders and said: “An EMS task force is checking locations of emergency calls that authorities could not reach during the storm, while the National Guard will spend the next couple days checking every house is neighbourhoods that lost power.
“We are fearful that there are individuals who may have perished living alone or people who were not doing well in an establishment, especially those that still don’t have power.”
According to Mayor Byron Brown, by Wednesday approximately 70 percent of the roads in Buffalo were cleared and over 450 pieces of snow removal machinery were issued throughout the city.
He added: “Our goal is to get more plowing done today. We are looking to opening up the city tomorrow, looking to opening Buffalo City Hall. We intend on getting it done.”
Warmer temperatures have been forecasted for the region over the coming days which may lead to flooding and will likely reveal more bodies.
On Boxing Day, Tricia Goodrich discovered that her half-brother died on Christmas Day via a Facebook post.
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Ms Goodrich called her older brother who informed her that their younger brother Timothy M. Murphy, 27, died during the blizzard in western New York during the Christmas weekend.
She said: “He had received the call on Christmas and didn’t want to ruin our Christmas.”
According to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Mr Murphy died from carbon monoxide poisoning when heavy snow blocked the external furnace of his house in Lockport.
Adbdul Sharifu, 26, left his home in Buffalo at noon on Christmas Eve to get milk for a friend and failed to return home.
Gloria, Abdul’s pregnant wife who is expecting her baby within a week, woke from a nap to find he was not yet home.
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After calling her husband and his cousin Ally to no avail, she waited 24 hours with no news before notifying the police and friends.
On Saturday around 11:30pm, Abdul was found face down in the snow by a passerby who brought him to a hospital, but he was dead by the time his family arrived.
The news of his death came after the shocking report that student nurse and Buffalo resident Anndel Taylor, 22, died in her car after she got stuck driving home from her shift on Friday.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office told of bodies being found in stranded vehicles “on sidewalks, near street corners, some have been found in snowbanks.”
He added: “Some have been found because some have been without power since the storm began.”