New York accounts for more than half the U.S. winter storm-related deaths ABC News is tracking as of Monday night.
The network said 51 have died nationwide, while Gov. Kathy Hochul said 29 were in New York and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said 27 were in the county that includes Buffalo. Hochul called it the “blizzard of the century” in western New York in a Monday press conference.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said 18 bodies were recovered in that city, most found in vehicles by police, who will also start ticketing people “joyriding” in violation of the weather-related driving ban.
The city and county are also investigating looting reports. Daniel Neaverth, emergency services commissioner for the county, said more than a dozen Erie gas stations are reported inoperable because of looting on the “convenience side” and inside equipment “rendered ineffective.” Because the pumps don’t work, emergency vehicles can’t refuel, he said.
About 12,000 county utility customers still have no power as of Monday, Poloncarz said.