BUFFALO, NEW YORK — The blizzard that pummeled the northeast on Christmas weekend also dealt a heartbreaking blow to a Charlotte family.
Locally, the weather woes were primarily kept to frigid temperatures and burst pipes, but the winter storm was deadly across the country.
So far, more than 50 deaths have been connected to the snowstorm.
Anndel Taylor, 22, of Charlotte, was one of the victims of the weekend storm.
“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,” said Shawnequa Brown, Taylor’s sister.
Her family told Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe that Taylor got caught in the weather as she drove home from work in Buffalo, New York.
In a family group chat, Taylor said she was stuck in blinding snow that was piling up fast. She shared video of the car windows seemingly covered by snow.
“She was telling my sister that she was scared,” Brown said.
To stay on top of changing weather conditions, be sure to download our free WSOC-TV Weather app.
Taylor called 911 and was waiting for first responders who couldn’t reach her. Wanda Brown Steele -- Taylor’s mother -- said the young woman planned to sleep out the storm, then walk home.
Instead, she was found dead inside her car. In all, her family thinks she was stuck for 18 hours.
“I feel like everybody that tried to get to her got stuck. Fire department, police, everybody got stuck,” said Tomeshia Brown, Taylor’s sister. “Why didn’t they have chains on their tires? This is a state that is known for snow.”
Some have theorized Taylor died from hypothermia, but Steele believes her daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“The car was running, and the snow was still coming, so it blocked the pipes, the exhaust pipe,” she said. “Then after the car cut off, that’s when she iced up.”
The tragic chain of events comes between Christmas and Taylor’s upcoming 23rd birthday.
“A lot of crying, (she) still got presents under the tree,” Shawnequa Brown said.
More information on how to help Taylor’s family can be found here.
(WATCH BELOW: NC families seek shelter from cold amid power outages caused by substation attack)
©2022 Cox Media Group