Anndel Taylor died at 22 years old after she got stuck in a blizzard on her way home from work. The precipitation rose rapidly and for 18 hours, she had to sit in her car as 50 inches of snow piled around her. She managed to send one final video to her family and told her group chat she was stuck on the road in one of Buffalo’s worst snowstorm in history.
At least 35 people have been confirmed dead due to the blizzard in Buffalo alone as the frigid weather sweeps across the county.
She was one of three people found dead in their cars despite a ban on personal road travel that was in effect at the time. A state of emergency has been issued since as another foot of snow is predicted to pile up. Officials are fearing that more bodies will turn up in the wake of the snowstorm, which was a “once in a lifetime” disaster according to the governor. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has called it “the worst storm probably in our lifetime.”
For the past week, Erie County has been suffering from the storm with Montana and New York being the first few to feel it.
Poloncarz continued, “We’ve had so many bodies that various hospitals are full. We’re just having to go through and determine if the individuals have died from a blizzard-related death.”
By Tuesday, New York has counted almost 70 deaths due to blizzard-related causes.
Taylor was found dead in her car and instead of hypothermia, her mother shared that her cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Taylor, born in Buffalo and raised in Charlotte, was found on Saturday afternoon, inside one of the many cars that were buried under the snow as residents tried to shovel the snow out of the streets when they can. Taylor’s 16-second video showed her rolling the window down and showing the thick snowfall.
Her sister, Shawnequa Brown, shared, “She was telling my sister that she was scared.”
“I don’t know if any of us really knew how serious it was, we didn’t see the news, we didn’t really know what was going on in Buffalo,” she continued, sharing that they didn’t know how severe the blizzard is hitting western New York.
She called 911 for help but they couldn’t reach her when she sent the video. Her mother, Wanda Brown Steele, shared that her daughter planned to sleep out the storm before walking back home when it’s settled.
“I feel like everybody that tried to get to her got stuck. Fire department, police, everybody got stuck,” shared her other sister Tomeshia. “Why didn’t they have chains on their tires? This is a state that is known for snow.”
Tomeshia also posted on Facebook before finding out she’d died, “My Sister Got Caught In A blizzard in Buffalo at 2pm yesterday. She was still stuck at 11pm lastnight !!!! Now she’s Lost under The snow And No one can find her ! I got this pain In my stomach.”
Her mom shared her thoughts with WCOS, “The car was running, and the snow was still coming, so it blocked the pipes, the exhaust pipe. Then after the car cut off, that’s when she iced up.”
“A lot of crying, (she) still got presents under the tree,” she shared the situation of the grieving family.
A GoFundMe page has been started to bring her home to Charlotte to bury her and to cover the funeral expenses.
Many have sent their condolences and one of them wrote, “Anndel was one of my former students. Her light shined strong and my prayers are with her family during this difficult time. Anndel, rest in peace you sweet girl.”
“My mom worked alongside her. We lift you up during this time of tragedy,” wrote another.
The state of emergency is followed by 220 more National Guards dispatched on top of the already 210 force to keep up with responses.
The community is also trying hard to shovel snow out of their driveways and the streets.