Deadly winter storm continues to unleash mayhem: Latest updates


Two people died overnight in New York state and were stranded for hundreds of hours on an interstate in Kentucky Saturday morning before an evacuation. The incidents marked the latest in a string of emergencies caused by a devastating winter storm that disrupted travel and forced people across the nation before Christmas.

Buffalo roared

PHOTO: Jessica Chan of Buffalo, New York navigates deep snow as a major winter storm continues to batter Buffalo, Dec. 24, 2022.

Jessica Chan of Buffalo, New York navigates deep snow as a major winter storm continues to batter Buffalo, Dec. 24, 2022.

Jalen Wright/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Two people died Friday night in Cheektowaga, New York — a suburb near Buffalo — when emergency medical personnel were unable to reach their homes due to weather conditions, Poloncarz said. It was not immediately clear what health conditions prompted the need for medical attention.

The incidents brought the death toll from the storm to at least eight.

“It was a very, very bad night in our community,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.

PHOTO: Lyla Kelly plays with her dog Maggie in the snow in Buffalo County in East Amherst, New York on December 24, 2022.

Lyla Kelly plays with her dog Maggie in the snow, Dec. 24, 2022, during a winter storm that hit the Buffalo region.

Sarah Kelly/Reuters

Rescue crews are working to free people trapped in their vehicles, with at least 50 rescues so far, Erie County officials said Saturday afternoon. The driving ban remains in effect.

At a news conference on Saturday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said 73,000 homes in the region were without power, adding that she planned to apply for an emergency declaration from the federal government.

“It’s life-threatening as we speak in Buffalo,” Hochul said at a news conference Saturday.

PHOTO: Hoak's Restaurant is covered in ice from the runoff from Lake Erie waves in the Buffalo region, Dec. 24, 2022, during a winter storm that hit Hamburg, New York.

Hoak’s Restaurant is covered in ice after spray from waves from Lake Erie in the Buffalo region during a winter storm in Hamburg, New York, on December 24, 2022.

via Kevin Hoak/Reuters

Hochul declared the storm a state of emergency on Thursday and the next day deployed 54 members of the National Guard to Erie County to support the ongoing emergency response.

Stopped in Kentucky

Meanwhile, more than 700 vehicles were stuck for hours on a 14-mile stretch of interstate in Kentucky Saturday morning as emergency officials struggled to clear the road, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said. By late morning, most people had been evacuated, Beshear added.

“The roads are treacherous,” Beshear said. “We urge Kentuckians to stay home to ensure their safety and to help our first responders and our road crews do their jobs.”

Meredith and Matthew Mikesell – a husband and wife from Louisville, Kentucky – earlier told an ABC News affiliate that they were stuck on the interstate for nearly 12 hours Saturday morning.

The couple, who were traveling to Matthew’s parents’ home in Columbus, Ohio, for Christmas have started the car’s engine because of the heat, but say they are running out of food and water.

A nearby truck driver gave them water, sandwiches and a granola bar, they added.

“We would have really hurt if it wasn’t for him,” Matthew said.

Cancellations, delayed deliveries and interruptions

Millions of Americans were traveling before Christmas amid a massive winter storm that set a record for annual flight cancellations on Friday, Dec. 23.

Nearly 6,000 flights — 5,930 in all — were canceled Friday in and out of the United States, according to the FlightAware tracking site.

The previous record for the year was set on February 3, when 5,247 flights were canceled.

Massive storm brings icy conditions and icy roads to the US as holiday travel gets underway.

FedEx and UPS warned that customers could see delays in Christmas deliveries due to the weather’s impact on major shipping hubs.

PHOTO: Passengers check in at the Delta counter at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, on Dec. 22, 2022.

Passengers will check in at the Delta counter at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan on December 22, 2022.

Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive for their flights at United Airlines Terminal 1 before the Christmas holiday at O'Hare International Airport, Dec. 22, 2022, in Chicago.

Passengers arrive at United Airlines Terminal 1 before the Christmas holiday at O’Hare International Airport, Dec. 22, 2022, in Chicago.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

States of emergency have been declared from South Dakota to New York.

“This is a very severe weather alert,” President Joe Biden warned Thursday. “Please take this storm very seriously.”

PHOTO: Traffic and snow maintenance vehicles clear the road as a traffic sign warns drivers about conditions along State Highway 14/18 on Dec. 22, 2022 in Madison, Wis.

Traffic and snow maintenance vehicles clear the road, a traffic sign warns drivers about conditions on State Route 14/18 on December 22, 2022 in Madison, Wis.

John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

PHOTO: Vehicles travel along Interstate 44 as snow and temperatures begin to drop, Dec. 22, 2022, in St. Louis.

Vehicles travel along Interstate 44 as snow and temperatures begin to drop, Dec. 22, 2022, in St. in Louis

Jeff Roberson/AP

Danger on the roads

Four people are dead after a crash Friday afternoon involving at least 46 vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

State police, including New York, Illinois and Michigan, are asking people to stay off the roads.

Michigan State Police said nine semi-tractor trailers were involved in a crash Friday on Interstate 94 in Berrien County, where “visibility is near zero.” According to the police, seven cars have been piled up in the same area.

“Thousands of our first responders, emergency management personnel and utility crews are working today to keep New Yorkers safe,” Hochule said Friday. “I urge everyone to stay off the roads this evening as conditions will worsen later today as temperatures drop across the state. Buckle up, stay indoors and stay safe this weekend.”

More than 2,000 miles of Minnesota highways were closed or no travel was advised, the state Department of Transportation said. updated Friday afternoon, with whiteout conditions, drifting snow and extreme temperatures making travel dangerous.



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