TRAGEDY: Death Toll Rises to 34

( – Thirty-four people have perished in the area of Buffalo, New York, as a result of the massive blizzard that struck over the Christmas weekend, and the death toll may climb much higher, according to the authorities.

The latest data on Buffalo’s winter storm fatalities were announced Wednesday by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, ABC7 reported, as cited by Newsmax.

He revealed that 26 bodies were discovered in the city, another seven were found in the suburbs, and one dead body’s location was unknown.

The local authorities made it clear the blizzard death toll could increase further since more bodies might be discovered after the snow begins to melt.

The Christmas storm brought 52 inches of snow to Buffalo, the second-largest city in the state of New York, with a population of nearly 300,000.

With the city emerging from the freezing cold, warmer temperatures are helping the relief efforts. National Grid, the local power utility, was expected to restore “soon” electricity to almost all areas that experienced power outages during the winter calamity.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in the Buffalo area were climbing to the mid-40s on Wednesday. Forecasts said they would continue to rise further to reach the low 50s by Friday.

Meanwhile, task forces of the local emergency medical services have started going door to door at locations they couldn’t reach during the snowstorm in an effort to check the residents’ condition.

“We are fearful that there are individuals who may have perished living alone or people who were not doing well in an establishment, especially those that still don’t have power,” Poloncarz said.

A driving ban remained in place in Buffalo on Wednesday even though most main highways and suburban roads in the area were reopened a day earlier.

The local authorities introduced the driving ban to guarantee unhindered access and the effective work of rescue services and supply vehicles. State and military police enforced it.

Fuel deliveries to emergency crews and grocery supplies to stores were among the top priorities for the authorities in the Buffalo area.

City officials said crews were continuing to work on clearing for traffic at least one lane on all state and county roads.

As of Wednesday, roughly 65% of all streets in the city of Buffalo operated with at least one open lane of traffic.