Friday 13 December 2019

New York snowstorm: Death toll rises to 10 as residents battle with further snowfall

Rose Troup Buchanan

Western residents of New York State are reeling after another two feet of snow fell, placing further strain on the state’s already buckling resources as the death toll rose to 10 this morning.

The United States has seen a year’s snow fall in three days in the New York county area with temperatures dipping below freezing in all 50 states – including Hawaii.

It is believed that at least ten people have lost their lives as a result of the unseasonably cold weather, with care homes evacuated in the Buffalo area and the National Football League moving a scheduled game from the local stadium to Detroit.

The latest snowfall adds to an estimated five feet already on the ground and meteorologists warned that western residents of New York could expect another 30 inches in the coming hours, with snow and below freezing temperatures expected to continue until midday Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

It is believed the freezing weather is the result of a sharp southward dip in the jet stream that has pulled cold air down from the Artic. The phenomenon, known as a “polar vortex”, has been enhanced in Buffalo – one of the worst affected areas – by the “lake effect”, as warm air off nearby Lake Erie has reacted with the drastically cooler air to produce huge snowfalls.

“This is western New York; we’re used to it,” Jack Fasanella, an Erie County resident, told The New York Times. “But this is the worst I’ve ever seen. Even worse than the blizzard of ’77.”

The 1977 blizzard killed 23 people in western New York and five more in the north of the state. National forecasters recorded daily peak wind gusts of 46 to 69 mph and up to eight feet of snowfall over a three day period at the end of January.

States of emergency have been declared in 10 counties as rescue crews mobilise across the nation to provide much needed help to trapped residents. 

Erie County Deputy Executive Richard Tobe warned that roof collapses posed a threat, especially at mobile home parks. Nearly 180 elderly residents were evacuated from a care home earlier in the week, after careers noticed the ceiling bulging from the weight of snow.

"With this heavy snow load now, there are buildings that are in danger," Mr Tobe said.

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
A woman walks along a snow-covered street in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Brian Cintron walks in his snow-bound south Buffalo neighborhood on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Cars are buried in deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A bulldozer clears the way for an ambulance in a neighborhood in West Seneca
A man digs out his driveway in Depew, New York.
Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York is buried in snow.
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.
Cars are stranded on Mile Strip Road at the entrance to Route 219 near Buffalo, N.Y.,Wednesday
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)
A snow-covered jeep SUV drives along Route 20 after a massive snow fall in Lancaster, New York. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
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 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)
Snow covers a street at daybreak Wednesday (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
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
A New York State snowblower removes snow on Broadway in Lancaster (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)
Cars with snow atop the roofs sit idle at this home on Broadway in Lancaster, New York. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Christine Bloom works to clear snow off her vehicle to try and make it to work in Hamburg, N.Y.
Paul Lorenzo clears snow along Powers Road in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Harry Scull Jr.)
A plane negotiates its way through the snow at Buffalo Greater International Airport, in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)
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)
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)
In this photo provided by Patrick Bryne, his dog, Bonnie, sniffs a door blocked with snow on Tuesday (AP Photo/Patrick Bryne)
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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