New York's Historic Blizzard Is Making Grocery Shopping Near Impossible

Residents of Buffalo, New York are accustomed to snow. The state's second-largest city typically receives around 95 inches of snow each year, according to Fox Weather, making it one of the nation's snowiest big cities. 2022 has already over-delivered in the snow department, though; WGRZ reported that November 2022 saw a near record-breaking 36.9 inches of snow, and Christmas weekend brought a devastating blizzard, dumping more than 40 inches of snow and punishing residents with extreme conditions, according to CNN. At least 27 people have died in Erie County, New York, and Buffalo's Police Commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia told the outlet that he expects the death toll to increase as the snow continues to be cleared.

And clearing this amount of snow is proving to be a monumental task. The Associated Press said that the snow total at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport as of 10 a.m. on Monday, December 26, 2022, was 49.2 inches, and another nine inches of snow is expected to fall through Tuesday. NBC News reported that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz addressed the problem of impassable roads and the additional complication of county residents in desperate need of food supplies.

'We are kind of running out of food'

Widespread power outages, supermarket closures, and driving bans have made it hard for Buffalo residents to obtain food and necessities like baby formula, according to the Associated Press, which prompted some people to plead for aid via social media. Poloncarz told NBC News he hoped he would see driving bans lifted Tuesday, December 27, which would enable Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans Food Markets grocery stores to reopen, and he also said grocery stores had been permitted to receive replacement food shipments as part of the county's coordinated response to the historic blizzard.

NBC News said Facebook groups for storm recovery have received requests for diapers, formula, and medicine for sick children, and Scott McCandless, a resident of the Buffalo suburbs, drove for miles after his driveway was plowed, in search of an open grocery store, only to return home empty handed.

Leven Oxmaul told NBC News that he's been snowed in since Thursday at Salvatore's Garden Place Hotel, where he works as a front desk agent. The hotel staff is struggling to serve their more than 80 guests three meals a day, as there's really no alternative. "We are kind of running out of food," Oxmaul said, adding "We can't go anywhere. We are buried in the snow."