NECN LIVE in New York: Buffalo Area Still Digging Itself Out From Monsters Snowstorm

NECN's Justin Michael traveled to Western New York through rough conditions to report on the second blast of lake-effect snow, live from the Buffalo area.

Roofs began to creak and collapse and homeowners struggled to clear waist-high drifts atop their houses Thursday as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total to an epic 7 feet or more.

Since Monday, the town East Aurora has accumulated over 5 feet of snow. East Aurora Police Chief Ronald Krowka says he is working to get the 16,000 residents the resources they need.

"Right now, it's like living in a snow globe," Chief Krowka said. "We are basically paralyzed. Since the storm started on Tuesday, the restaurants that were open ran out of food. Most of the gas stations don't have any gas left, and you can see that most people are getting around walking now."

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

Mayor Allan Kasprzak added that the Village Department of Public Works and the town highway department is working to make roads passable.

"We're always concerned about emergency situations," Kasprzak said. "Thank God we haven't had any yet."

With roads impassable, driving bans in effect and the Buffalo Bills' stadium buried in snow, the NFL decided to move Sunday's home game against the New York Jets to another location, still to be determined.

Mayor Kasprzak says this is the most snow he's ever seen fall in the area at such a rapid pace in such a short time frame.

Over in Cheektowaga, the town's senior center had to evacuate its 150 residents after the building's roof began to buckle. 

Things could quickly get worse: Rain and temperatures as high as 60 were forecast over the weekend, raising the specter of flooding and an even heavier load on roofs, where the snow could absorb the downpours like a blanket.

Homeowners and store employees around the region climbed onto roofs to shovel off the snow and reduce the danger.

The storms were blamed for at least 10 deaths in western New York, mostly from heart attacks and exposure.

A stretch of the New York State Thruway through western New York remained closed, with more than 300 truckers idled at truck stops and service areas, waiting for the highway to reopen.

With an additional 2 feet possible on Thursday, the one-week totals for the hardest hit areas will approach the average snowfall for an entire year: 93.6 inches, or close to 8 feet. It won't stick around, though. With temperatures expected to rise above freezing on Saturday and approach 60 by Monday, flooding is likely to produce the next challenge.

The highest snowfall total for the Buffalo area this time was 65 inches, recorded in Cheektowaga. National Weather Service meteorologist David Church said forecasters haven't determined yet how this storm ranks, but that 60 to 70 inches in 24 hours is probably in the top 5 for the region.

Folks in Cheektowaga have been stuck inside all week.

"Usually it's a foot. We get a good storm, a foot, maybe two feet, we plow out, we're good, everything is clean. This is going to be all weekend," resident Nick Bachakas said.

The heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record in the Lower 48 states is 75.8 inches, which fell at Silver Lake, Colorado, in 1921, according to the government.

Meanwhile, locals in East Aurora are making the best of the historic band of snow, calling the scenery "magical."

There is some light at the end of this very snowy tunnel, though, since it will be in the 60s this weekend in the area.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us