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A year's worth of snow in a week has already claimed eight lives in New York in just three days – and things are about to get even worse

Massive snowstorms claim eight lives in New York in just three days Close

Firefighters from West End Hose Company in Depew, N.Y. help a stuck motorist on Transit Road

Firefighters from West End Hose Company in Depew, N.Y. help a stuck motorist on Transit Road

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A woman walks along a snow-covered street in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

A woman walks along a snow-covered street in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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Brian Cintron walks in his snow-bound south Buffalo neighborhood on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Brian Cintron walks in his snow-bound south Buffalo neighborhood on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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Cars were buried in the deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. Emergency workers are now filling thousands of sand bags, with the area braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures are beginning to melt up to seven feet (2 metres) of snow
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Cars were buried in the deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. Emergency workers are now filling thousands of sand bags, with the area braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures are beginning to melt up to seven feet (2 metres) of snow (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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A bulldozer clears the way for an ambulance in a neighborhood in West Seneca

A bulldozer clears the way for an ambulance in a neighborhood in West Seneca

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A man digs out his driveway in Depew, New York.

A man digs out his driveway in Depew, New York.

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Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York is buried in snow.

Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York is buried in snow.

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Homes are covered in snow in West Seneca, New York. The Buffalo area found itself buried under as much as five feet of snow Wednesday, with another lake-effect storm expected to bring two to three more feet by late Thursday.

Homes are covered in snow in West Seneca, New York. The Buffalo area found itself buried under as much as five feet of snow Wednesday, with another lake-effect storm expected to bring two to three more feet by late Thursday.

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Cars are stranded on Mile Strip Road at the entrance to Route 219 near Buffalo, N.Y.,Wednesday

Cars are stranded on Mile Strip Road at the entrance to Route 219 near Buffalo, N.Y.,Wednesday

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Surveillance footage shows a person climbing through piles of snow next to abandoned vehicles on the Thruway, near Lackawanna, New York. (AP Photo/New York State Thruway Authority)

Surveillance footage shows a person climbing through piles of snow next to abandoned vehicles on the Thruway, near Lackawanna, New York. (AP Photo/New York State Thruway Authority)

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A snow-covered jeep SUV drives along Route 20 after a massive snow fall in Lancaster, New York. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A snow-covered jeep SUV drives along Route 20 after a massive snow fall in Lancaster, New York. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

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A massive band of lake effect snow moves through the south of Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday  (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

A massive band of lake effect snow moves through the south of Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

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A Roundtop Mountain Resort employee makes snow in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, as arctic air arrived in the midstate area with temperatures reaching 30 degrees.  (AP Photo/PennLive.com, Sean Simmers)

A Roundtop Mountain Resort employee makes snow in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, as arctic air arrived in the midstate area with temperatures reaching 30 degrees. (AP Photo/PennLive.com, Sean Simmers)

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Snow covers a street at daybreak Wednesday (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

Snow covers a street at daybreak Wednesday (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

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Airman Apprentice Franklen Garett makes a snow angel during Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Monday

Airman Apprentice Franklen Garett makes a snow angel during Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Monday

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A New York State snowblower removes snow on Broadway in Lancaster   (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A New York State snowblower removes snow on Broadway in Lancaster (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

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A CSX freight train plows its way past the Cemetery Rd. overpass in Lancaster,  N.Y. Wednesday (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A CSX freight train plows its way past the Cemetery Rd. overpass in Lancaster, N.Y. Wednesday (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

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Cars with snow atop the roofs sit idle at this home on Broadway in Lancaster, New York (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

Cars with snow atop the roofs sit idle at this home on Broadway in Lancaster, New York (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

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Christine Bloom works to clear snow off her vehicle to try and make it to work in Hamburg, N.Y.

Christine Bloom works to clear snow off her vehicle to try and make it to work in Hamburg, N.Y.

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Paul Lorenzo clears snow along Powers Road in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Harry Scull Jr.)

Paul Lorenzo clears snow along Powers Road in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Harry Scull Jr.)

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A plane negotiates its way through the snow at Buffalo Greater International Airport, in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A plane negotiates its way through the snow at Buffalo Greater International Airport, in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

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A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

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In a photo from Nov. 11, 2014, Alan Messner shovels the sidewalk in front of Surplus Outlet in downtown Houghton, Mich. (AP Photo/Daily Mining Gazette, Dan Roblee)

In a photo from Nov. 11, 2014, Alan Messner shovels the sidewalk in front of Surplus Outlet in downtown Houghton, Mich. (AP Photo/Daily Mining Gazette, Dan Roblee)

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A Marquette Department of Public Works snow-plow truck gets a tow from a front-end loader while snow falls in Marquette, Mich. (AP Photo/The Mining Journal, Ryan Jarvi)

A Marquette Department of Public Works snow-plow truck gets a tow from a front-end loader while snow falls in Marquette, Mich. (AP Photo/The Mining Journal, Ryan Jarvi)

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In this photo provided by Patrick Bryne, his dog, Bonnie, sniffs a door  blocked with snow on Tuesday (AP Photo/Patrick Bryne)

In this photo provided by Patrick Bryne, his dog, Bonnie, sniffs a door blocked with snow on Tuesday (AP Photo/Patrick Bryne)

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Drivers cautiously make their way along I-196 at the end of the work day in downtown Grand Rapids (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Emily Rose Bennett)

Drivers cautiously make their way along I-196 at the end of the work day in downtown Grand Rapids (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Emily Rose Bennett)

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Firefighters from West End Hose Company in Depew, N.Y. help a stuck motorist on Transit Road

NEW York state residents, still clearing up after the historic “lake-effect” snowstorm that has now claimed eight lives in three days, have been warned that things are only going to get worse.

Another wave of stormy weather is forecast to sweep across the city of Buffalo on Thursday, bringing the total snowfall this week up to levels normally expected over an entire year.

 

The new fall will undermine the efforts of many who started digging out of their homes on Wednesday, and another three feet (1 metre) of snow is forecast.

 

On top of the 5.5 feet (1.68 metres) already there in some places, it could become the heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record in the mainland, beating the 75.8 inches (192 centimeters), which fell at Silver Lake, Colorado, in 1921.

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A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

AP

Surveillance footage shows a person climbing through piles of snow next to abandoned vehicles on the Thruway, near Lackawanna, New York. (AP Photo/New York State Thruway Authority)

Surveillance footage shows a person climbing through piles of snow next to abandoned vehicles on the Thruway, near Lackawanna, New York. (AP Photo/New York State Thruway Authority)

AP

A CSX freight train plows its way past the Cemetery Rd. overpass in Lancaster,  N.Y. Wednesday (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A CSX freight train plows its way past the Cemetery Rd. overpass in Lancaster, N.Y. Wednesday (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

AP

A plane negotiates its way through the snow at Buffalo Greater International Airport, in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

A plane negotiates its way through the snow at Buffalo Greater International Airport, in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

AP

Cars were buried in the deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. Emergency workers are now filling thousands of sand bags, with the area braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures are beginning to melt up to seven feet (2 metres) of snow
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Cars were buried in the deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. Emergency workers are now filling thousands of sand bags, with the area braced for potential flooding as warming temperatures are beginning to melt up to seven feet (2 metres) of snow (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

 

“This is an historic event,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters last night. “When all is said and done, this snowstorm will break all sorts of records.” He added: “It will get worse before it gets better.”

 

Once the coming storm front has passed, things are forecast to warm up across the state. But that will only pile more misery on beleaguered residents, Cuomo said, with the vast snowmelt likely to cause significant flooding. Forecasters also said there could be heavy rain at the weekend.

 

Vehicles litter the highway in West Seneca, New York November 19, 2014 Vehicles litter the highway in West Seneca, New York November 19, 2014 

 

The human cost of the record snows has been extensive. In addition to the eight deaths now attributed to the storms, some who ventured out onto the roads ended up trapped in their cars for more than 24 hours.

 

Cuomo said officials had eventually got everyone out, adding that it took so long because a disabled trailer had prevent snow ploughs from removing the fast-falling snow. He also hit out at drivers for choosing to travel on a closed interstate highway.

 

One woman, Bethany Hojnacki, went into labour at the height of the storm and had to give birth in the Buffalo fire station. Mother and baby were later both taken to hospital in an ambulance.

 

The Niagara University women's basketball squad was trapped on their team bus for more than 30 hours, and posted pictures to social media showing how they melted snow for drinking water.

 

The governor said it would take four or five days to clean up from the storm, which came as part of a front of cold weather that, it must be remembered, has affected the entire country to some extent.

 

All 50 states – including Hawaii – experienced freezing temperatures on Tuesday morning, making it the coldest start to a November day since 1976.

 

But the snowfall has been so great in Buffalo in particular because of its position on the shores of Lake Erie.

 

So-called “lake effect” snow forms because water evaporating from the warmer lake reacts with the cold wind sweeping down from the north.

 

If the wind and temperature conditions are just right, forecasters say the effect is like than of a big sponge, sucking huge quantities of warm water up from the lake and then wringing it out in the form of snow as it passes over land.

 

Buffalo’s position right at the eastern end of the narrow lake makes it susceptible to this phenomenon – but this year has seen a particularly extreme episode.

Independent News Service