‘Unprecedented’ calls to first responders, Erie County executive says
Emergency service workers in Erie County, New York are experiencing an increase in calls and operating under “nearly impossible conditions,” the Erie County Executive tweeted Saturday morning. , Mark Polocarz.
“Transportation to warming centers is next to impossible in the hardest hit communities right now, so even without electricity or heat, shelter in place may be your best option,” he said.
Death toll from winter storm rises to 17
Authorities reported four additional weather-related deaths, bringing the death toll in the winter storm to 17.
The four deaths occurred in Kansas and Nebraska and were all automotive-related, officials said.
The Nebraska State Patrol confirmed one weather-related death. Additional details have not been released. A spokesperson for the agency said it had responded to more than 600 weather-related incidents.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday that three fatal crashes occurred on Wednesday and they were all weather-related.
In Republic County, a man died after his car was hit by another vehicle that lost control and jack-knifed. His car was pushed off the road and into a tree. He was identified as Fred Mikesell, 60, of Scandia, Kansas, officials said.
The driver of the other vehicle was not injured, according to Highway Patrol.
Zachary Bealer, 33, of Kansas City, Missouri, died after he lost control of his truck and crossed the median of Interstate 70 in Geary County. His truck was then hit by two other vehicles and came to rest 80 feet down an embankment, Highway Patrol said.
No injuries were reported among the occupants of the other two vehicles.
Grant Lysell-Alkire, 21, of Lindsborg, Kansas, died after the SUV he was a passenger in entered a ditch on Interstate 135 in Saline County and overturned. The 16-year-old driver suffered minor injuries, according to Highway Patrol.
Deaths have also been reported in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Ohio.
New York Governor deploys National Guard to Erie County
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Friday night she was deploying 54 members of the National Guard to help residents amid the fierce winter storm and blizzard that has hit the area.
Guard members would assist Erie County residents, especially those who have emergency medical appointments and need travel assistance, Hochul said in a statement.
They were expected on the ground “in a few hours”, the statement said.
“I want to assure New Yorkers that all of our state resources are being deployed to assist with storm recovery efforts, and we are coordinating closely with local officials across the state. Remember: stay off the roads and take precautions to stay safe in your home.