Friday 6 December 2019

Snowed-in state of New York now facing floods

Press Association

A deadly snowfall that crippled a US state is finally expected to stop - but people now face the threat of massive flooding as temperatures rise through the weekend.

Roofs creaked and collapsed and people toiled to clear waist-high snow drifts atop their houses as another storm continued to bury Buffalo and western New York state, which remained paralysed by the white-out.

Even for the Buffalo area, one of America's snowiest places, the snowfall was historic, as the three-day total neared 8ft, the amount the region typically gets over a year. Some areas had close to 3ft of new snow by last night.

The storms were blamed for at least 10 deaths in western New York, mostly from exposure and heart attacks, including several people who were shovelling snow.

Cars are buried in deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Cars are buried in deep snow in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A massive band of lake effect snow moves through the south of Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)
Cars are stranded on Mile Strip Road at the entrance to Route 219 near Buffalo, N.Y.,Wednesday
A woman walks along a snow-covered street in the south Buffalo area of New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
A Depew firefighter uses a snowmobile to travel down Transit Road (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Derek Gee)
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.
A bulldozer clears the way for an ambulance in a neighborhood in West Seneca
Firefighters from West End Hose Company in Depew, N.Y. help a stuck motorist on Transit Road
A man digs out his driveway in Depew, New York.

Things could quickly get worse for the region on Lake Erie. Rain and temperatures as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 Celsius) were forecast over the weekend, raising the spectre of flooding and an even heavier load on roofs.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo begged drivers to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads while crews tried to dig out.

With roads impassable, driving bans in effect and the Buffalo Bills' stadium buried in snow, the National Football League decided to move the Bills' Sunday home game against the New York Jets to Monday night in Detroit, Michigan. Earliery, Mr Cuomo said holding the game would jeopardise public safety.

More than 50 people were evacuated from several mobile home parks because roofs were buckling. In one town authorities said more than a dozen structures collapsed, as did a metal warehouse operated by a Christmas decorations company.

About 180 residents of an assisted living complex were evacuated after staff members noticed the ceiling bulging under the weight of the snow.

Homeowners and store staff climbed on to roofs to shovel off the snow and reduce the danger.

National Guardsmen drove nurses to work their hospital shifts, state police helped the elderly trapped in their homes and 463 snowploughss, 129 loaders and 40 dump trucks were assembled from across the state.

A stretch of the New York State Thruway, the state's main highway, remained closed, with more than 300 lorry drivers idled.

With deliveries interrupted, some grocery stores reported running low on staples like bread and milk.

"No matter how you cut it, this event will end up in the top five for the Lake Erie area," said National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini.

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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