US: Residents, crews search for trapped under snow-covered vehicles – Warnings for catastrophic flooding

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US: Residents, crews search for trapped under snow-covered vehicles – Warnings for catastrophic flooding

At least 65 people died in total as a result of the extreme weather – Around 30 people spent Christmas trapped in supermarkets – Thousands of homes remain without power

With weather conditions noticeably improved after temperatures have risen across most of the US hit by the historic killer blizzard, rescue crews continue to race against time to search for survivors in snow-covered vehicles and clear roads as there is a warning for possible flooding in the next few hours.

At least 65 people have died in total as a result of the extreme weather, with the area in and around Buffalo, New York state, taking the hardest hit.

Confirmed storm-related deaths in Erie and Niagara counties rose to 32 on Tuesday, officials said.

Christmas at the supermarket

Also, about 30 people were forced to spend Christmas inside a Target store in Buffalo as they were locked out due to the blizzard that hit the area “hard and fast.”

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While the temperature has started to rise and the snowfall is decreasing, emergency services continue to locate and remove snow from vehicles. Several victims of the deadly storm were found trapped in their vehicles and several died of cardiac arrest while shoveling snow, Erie County Sheriff Mark Polokarz said.

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“Please do not drive in the city of Buffalo unless you are an emergency personnel,” he said, explaining that “too many people” are ignoring the driving ban currently in place.

“We’re recovering from the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” he added.

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Assistance from the military police

In and around Buffalo, more than a foot of snow fell in four days, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The county has called in 100 military police officers from the state National Guard as well as officers from New York City to help manage traffic and enforce road restrictions. However, the situation is not expected to improve soon, with forecasters now predicting melting ice along with rain, which could cause flooding.

“It will warm up soon. By Thursday, the maximum temperature will be 8 degrees Celsius. By Saturday it will be 12 degrees,” said meteorologist Bob Oravec.

Crews are already clearing the streets with Polokarz stressing that it will take two days to open at least one lane on every street in the city.

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Thousands of homes without power

At the same time, the problems in electricity supply continue. About 4,500 homes were without power Tuesday because of the storm, according to Polokarz.

The flights have also been affected with Southwest Airlines, which is based in Dallas, Texas, having canceled more than 12,000 flights since Friday due to the inclement weather.

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