An “epic, once-in-a-lifetime” storm that rocked through the United States, and devastated western New York, is not over, according to the state’s governor.
At least 28 people have died in the state alone, as the rest of the US is also reeling from the ferocious blizzard that caused two-dozen deaths in other parts of the country.
“It is way too early to say [the storm] is at its completion,” Kathy Hochul, New York’s governor, said at a press conference on Monday.
“Maybe the severity is downplaying now and right now. It’s not as bad as it had been over the last couple of days, but it is still a dangerous situation to be out.”
Around 23 centimetres is predicted to fall in western New York through Tuesday.
On the ground in New York’s second-largest city, Buffalo, workers are struggling to dig out the city covered in snow.
Many of those who died in Buffalo were found in their homes, snowbanks and cars. Hundreds of people were stranded in their cars after violating a ban on personal road travel over the Christmas weekend.
And some were trapped in their vehicles in the freezing temperatures for more than two days.
Others died from cardiac stress while blowing or ploughing snow.
On Monday night, the country’s President Joe Biden issued a federal emergency declaration for New York.
The storm also cut many from vital medical treatment. Melissa Carrick, a doula in Buffalo, was forced to coach a pregnant client through childbirth over the telephone.
From Friday until Sunday, Shahida Muhammad and her child’s father were forced to manually administer breath to their one-year-old son after a power outage knocked out his ventilator.
Rescue workers eventually came to their aid, and she said her son was doing well.
In other parts of the country, the storm knocked out power in communities from Maine to Seattle.
Storm-related deaths were reported practically nationwide, including at least eight killed in crashes in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky.
And it caused travel chaos across the country. More than 15,000 flights were cancelled over the past couple of days, including more than 2,700 on Monday alone.