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The death toll from upstate New York’s wicked weekend blizzard rose to at least 27 on Monday, with authorities warning that the number of dead would likely grow.

The monster storm battered counties such as Erie, which includes the city of Buffalo, and Niagara in the state’s western region, leaving residents Monday grappling with nearly 4 feet of snow, roads impassable for plows and thousands of households without power.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that the monumental storm could bring up to a foot more snow in the region Monday.

“This will go down in history as the most devastating storm” in Buffalo, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday.

A travel ban is in place in the city, with roads so icy and buried in snow that it has been nearly impossible for snowplows to clear them.

A snowmobile drives past a police checkpoint.
A travel ban is in place throughout Buffalo.

Vehicles are left stranded on the road following a winter storm.
Vehicles are left stranded on the road following a winter storm in Amherst.


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Snow covers the streets and vehicles in Buffalo.
Wind gusts cover the streets and cars with snow in Buffalo, NY.

A car sits immobile and blanketed in snow.
A car sits immobile and blanketed in snow.


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Snow drifts as high as 8 feet on roadways were too thick and difficult to clear with conventional snow removal equipment, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told reporters.

The city’s airport will be closed until at least Tuesday.

The storm marked the first time the Buffalo Fire Department was initially unable to respond to calls for help, officials said. Instead, National Guardsmen were called in. By Sunday, the storm had eased enough for emergency responders to get out and assess the damage.

Hoak's restaurant is covered in ice from the spray of Lake Erie.
A restaurant is covered in ice from the spray of Lake Erie.

A restaurant is covered in ice from the spray of Lake Erie.
A restaurant is covered in ice from the spray of Lake Erie.


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

At least 27 people have died as a result of the storm, with Buffalo police spokesman Michael DeGeorge saying Monday morning that the death toll in the city alone now stands at 20 people, Buffalo News reported.

Some of the storm’s victims “were found in cars, and some were found actually on the street in snowbanks,” Poloncarz said Sunday.

Vehicles are left stranded on the road following a winter storm that hit the Buffalo region.
Vehicles are left stranded on the road following a winter storm that hit the Buffalo area.
REUTERS
Ice formed by the spray of Lake Erie waves covers a walkway during a winter storm in Irving, New York.
Ice formed by the spray of Lake Erie waves covers a walkway in Irving, New York.
REUTERS
A person clears snow as a winter storm rolls through.
A person works to clear snow in Amherst, New York.
AP
Snow blankets a neighborhood.
Snow blankets a neighborhood in Cheektowaga.
John Waller via AP

Officials say the total number of deaths could continue to grow.

“We do believe based on reports we’re getting from the field we are going to get a number — hopefully not a significant number — but a number of additionally confirmed deaths in the next six hours because of bodies that have been found but have not yet been transported to hospitals for identification and confirmation of death,” Poloncarz said Sunday.

About 15,000 homes remained without electricity Sunday evening, and many won’t have lights and heat turned on again until Tuesday, Poloncarz said.

Debris lays in a parking lot.
Flood debris lies in a parking lot in Nyack, New York.

A woman walks her dog past flood waters.
A woman walks her dog past floodwaters along the Hudson River shore in Nyack, New York.


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Cars sit in flood waters during a winter storm along the Hudson River shore in Piermont.
Cars sit in floodwaters during a winter storm along the Hudson River shore in Piermont, New York.


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Hochul said she has spoken with White House chief of staff Ron Klain and that the federal government is ready to provide whatever funding and assistance the state needs to financially recover from the storm.

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