New York authorities have raised the official death count from 12 to 17 people after a once-in-a-generation winter storm struck Buffalo this weekend, dumping more than three feet of snow and barraging the area with hurricane-force winds. Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters during a press briefing Sunday morning that the blizzard had stranded rescue crews, with National Guard troops deploying to assist the most severely affected parts of Erie County. “This is a war with Mother Nature, and she has been hitting us with everything she has,” Hochul said, declaring the three-day blizzard the worst storm in Buffalo’s “long, storied history” of inclement winter weather. The deceased were found in cars and on the street, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who warned the death toll may rise because some people have been trapped in cars for more than two days. A travel ban was still in effect Sunday afternoon amid whiteout conditions, and the airport will remain closed until at least Tuesday, authorities said, with the state opening warming stations throughout the region. The blizzard was part of a blast of arctic air that jammed holiday travel across the country and knocked out power throughout the northeast, leaving at least 34 dead nationwide, the Associated Press reported.
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