BUFFALO, N.Y. — Three more deaths have been attributed to last month’s winter storm that hit Western New York, bringing the total number of deaths to 47 across the region.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Thursday that the Department of Health’s medical examiner confirmed the additional deaths were due to a delayed EMS response: 1 in Cheektowaga on December 24, 1 in Amherst on December 25 and 1 in Buffalo on December 27.

Of the deaths confirmed so far, 46 happened in Erie County, with one fatality in Niagara County.

Poloncarz says there are also three more cases to be finalized by the medical examiners office, pending toxicology reports. If confirmed, that would raise the area's death toll to 50. 

What You Need To Know

  • The death toll from a pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the Buffalo, N.Y., area and much of the country continues to rise

  • The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office says there are at least 46 deaths in Erie County

  • The storm was also blamed for at least another two dozen reported deaths in other parts of the country

With the death toll already surpassing that of the area's notorious Blizzard of 1977, local officials faced questions about the response to the storm. They insisted that they prepared but the weather was extraordinary, even for a region prone to powerful winter storms.

“The city did everything that it could under historic blizzard conditions,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said last Wednesday.

A company that estimates damage from natural disasters said insured losses from the winter storm would be $5.4 billion across 42 states. Karen Clark & Co. said New York, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina sustained the most storm damage, with freezing temperatures, which can result in infrastructure disruptions and burst pipes, accounting for the vast majority of the loss.