Local officials told reporters on Wednesday that at least 35 people have died as a result of the snowstorm that buried western New York in recent days. The death toll has risen steadily in the past 48 hours as emergency personnel discover more victims amid the recovery efforts.
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday called the winter storm the "blizzard of the century." The Biden administration approved a federal state of emergency around the same time.
Over the past two days, the state has struggled to restore power to thousands of households and clear roadways of snow.
National guard members check on residents, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Buffalo N.Y., following a winter storm. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
National Guard troopers are currently conducting door-to-door wellness checks to make sure that there are not more people harmed or killed by the storm.
As of Wednesday afternoon, around 325 customers still didn't have power, according to National Grid. This was down from upwards of 4,000 earlier in the week.
The grid operator said 98 percent of service had been restored by Tuesday evening, thanks to the work of more than 3,000 utility workers who have spread across the region to repair damaged power lines.
“This is one of the worst storms to ever impact the region and it has caused significant damage to the electricity system, including downed wires, damaged transformers, and broken poles, along with multiple frozen substations in the City of Buffalo,” said Matt Barnett, vice president of electric operations for National Grid in a statement.
Deaths related to the storm have now surpassed 60 total across the U.S. , according to an NBC tally.