Deadly blizzard leaves more than 60 dead across US

Snow blankets the city in Buffalo, New York, on 25 December, 2022. Photo: AFP / Joed Viera

The death toll in the New York city of Buffalo has risen to 28, with thousands still without power amid a monster winter storm that has battered North America.

BBC reports across the US, at least 62 people have died in weather-related incidents.

In Buffalo, a state official said that military police were being brought in to help manage traffic in the city, where a driving ban remained in place.

Looting has been reported in parts of the city during the emergency.

The winter storm has also forced the cancellation of thousands of flights, including about 4700 on Tuesday morning (US time) alone. Thousands of passengers have been left stranded at airports across the country.

Conditions were now expected to improve, with very little snowfall on Tuesday and slightly warmer weather on the way.

At a news conference on Tuesday, officials in New York's Erie County - which included Buffalo - said that the death toll was expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue. The 28 confirmed dead were all in Buffalo.

"All of the numbers have not caught up at this time," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

"We know that the [Erie] county number is larger."

More than 4000 people in the area remain without power after the storm, which Brown said was "probably" the worst of most residents' lifetimes. At the peak of the storm, about 20,000 people were without power.

Mark Poloncarz, executive of Erie County where Buffalo was located, said that 100 military police officers and additional state police were being brought in to help control traffic in the area, where conditions remained "ugly" on many local roads.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gragmalia said that looting was "still going on". Four people have so far been arrested.

"This isn't people stealing food and medicine and diapers," he said.

"They're destroying stores. They're stealing televisions, couches, whatever else they can get their hands on. They're opportunists."

On Monday, US President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration allowing federal support for New York State.