November 22, 2014 08:36
Residents of upstate New York, one of the nation's snowiest places, are trying to cope with a year's worth of snowfall over three days, while bracing for the flooding that could come next.
With warmer temperatures forecast for the next few days, weather forecasters say expected light rain will first soak into the more than two meters of snow on the ground in some areas, and later turn into floodwaters. Local officials have warned people to take valuables out of their basements in flood-prone areas, and people are shoveling heavy loads of snow off of their roofs to prevent collapse.
The risk of flooding is not expected to ease until Tuesday.
At least 13 people have died in the winter weather, most from cardiac arrest while shoveling snow or evacuating their homes.
A travel ban has been in place while emergency vehicles work overnight to clear snow from the roads.
With roads impassable late Thursday, more than 300 truckers along the New York State Thruway, the state's main highway, were idle, waiting for the road to reopen.
Buffalo and its surroundings are regular recipients of so-called "lake effect snow," or precipitation created when cold air moves over warm lake waters. Buffalo is located in the U.S. Great Lakes region, with large bodies of water, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, to both the southwest and the northeast of the city.
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