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Biden offers New York help as winter storm death toll hits 27

President Biden spoke by phone with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Monday and offered federal assistance as New York deals with a massive winter storm that has claimed more than two dozen lives.

Biden offered “the full force of the federal government” to address the impacts of the “historic winter storm,” the White House said, adding he’s directed officials to quickly respond to any requests for assistance from New York.

“The President shared that his and the First Lady’s prayers are with the people of New York and all those who lost loved ones. He expressed his gratitude to the Governor for her leadership and to the National Guard, law enforcement, and first responders for their tireless work,” the White House said in a statement.

The death toll from the storm in New York hit 27 on Monday, according to The Associated Press, representing roughly half of the total fatalities attributed to the Christmas week storm that swept across the country.

Many of the deaths in New York are in Erie County around Buffalo.

“I am sad to announce that our City has lost at least 20 members of our community due to the winter storm. Everyone please continue to be safe,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown tweeted on Monday. 

Eighteen storm-related deaths were confirmed over the weekend across Erie and Niagara counties, local outlet WIVB reported, before topping two dozen on Monday.

As much as 49 inches of snow have been reported in some areas as of Monday afternoon, with local authorities warning of more on the way.

“This is a major disaster that in some ways may turn out to be worse than the blizzard of ’77,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference on Sunday.

Some people were stranded in their vehicles for more than two days while others have faced below-freezing temperatures in their homes, Poloncarz said.

The city has told residents to keep cars off roads as responders try to rescue motorists still stranded.

Around 10,000 Buffalo residents are still without power, Brown said Monday, down from a peak of around 20,000. 

A winter weather advisory for the area in western New York remains in effect until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Hochul called it the “most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long, storied history” and said the state is at “war with mother nature.”

Julia Mueller contributed.

Updated: 4:25 p.m.

Source: The Hill

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