New York calls in military police to enforce driving ban in Buffalo

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State and military police in New York were mobilized Tuesday to keep people off Buffalo’s snow-choked roads. as the winter storm’s death toll climbed.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Tuesday that Buffalo’s driving ban will remain in effect while a driving advisory is active for the rest of the county. To enforce this ban, around 100 military police are being used to supplement state troopers in Buffalo. 

100 military police and additional troopers from @nyspolice are coming into Buffalo for traffic control and ticketing.,” Poloncarz tweeted. “DO NOT try to drive in or into the City of Buffalo. The driving ban remains.”

The death toll from the historic wintry conditions climbed to at least 28 on Tuesday, FOX Weather reported.

More than 40 inches of snow fell on western New York over Christmas weekend. Coinciding with freezing temperatures and hurricane force winds, the storm has turned deadly with more than 50 reported deaths.

Erie County, home to Buffalo, has recorded more than two dozen deaths, with many of the victims being found out in the cold or frozen to death in their cars. Some perished shoveling snow while others died in their homes due to the inability of emergency services to reach them. 

Even for an area known for brutal winters, Poloncarz called it “the worst storm probably in our lifetime.” More bodies are expected to be found as the snow is cleared. 

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President Biden offered federal assistance to the region, allowing New Yorkers to be reimbursed for some storm related damages, while Gov. Kathy Hochul took a tour of the damage. 

“So, anyone who declares victory and says it’s over, it is way too early to say this is at its completion,” Hochul said. “Maybe the severity is downplayed now, and right now, it’s not as bad as it had been over the last couple days, but it is still a dangerous situation to be in.”

The winter blast stranded some people in cars for days, shuttered the city’s airport and left some residents shivering without heat. More than 4,000 homes and businesses were still without power late Tuesday morning. Emergency crews from as far as Long Island have come to aid the relief efforts.

Snowfall is expected to ease and temperatures will warm in the next few days, according to a National Weather Service advisory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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