Melting New York snow threatens to turn streets into canals

Melting New York snow threatens to turn streets into canals

After a record-breaking snowfall that buried towns near Buffalo, in New York state, and that also killed at least 14 people, the residents are now facing the prospect of a major flooding threat.

Areas of western New York state that got socked with more than 2m of snow last week are now are under a flood warning, the National Weather Service said.

The zone was previously under a flood watch, which urges people to prepare for a possibility, while a more serious flood warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring, reported AFP.

As the weather warmed, rivers of melting snow could cause roofs to collapse, turn major thoroughfares into canals and cause creeks to overflow their banks, reported the New York Times.

A light drizzle fell throughout Saturday.

Officials warned that depending on how quickly the temperature rose, flooding could begin on Sunday.

TV news station WIVB in Buffalo quoted New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as saying: "We are preparing now for more flooding than we have seen in a long, long time.

"But it's hard to tell because we have never had this much snow - and this much melting of this much snow - in a short period of time."

Snowfall roughly equivalent to a year's supply of snow in two days saw the National Guard called up and could yet prompt a federal disaster declaration, local officials said.

DEALING WITH SNOW

Authorities urged people to clear storm drains in front of their homes and to get valuables out of their basements.

In the city of Lackawanna in western New York state, National Guard troops were out enforcing a travel ban, officials said.

And indeed, a rock band, Interpol, said they were stranded for more than 50 hours on their tour bus by the storm outside Buffalo, forcing them to cancel two consecutive nights of concerts in Montreal and Toronto in Canada.

Many of those who have died lost their lives while clearing mounds of heavy snow from their cars and homes.

Yet, the need to do so - to clear the massive weight of the snow from their homes - remained a major worry for many.

Those who could cleared snow from their flat and low-angled roofs, but many older residents were not able to do so.

Even unluckier were the thousands of people who have been trapped at home for nearly a week. They are unable to open their doors due to heavy snowpack.


This article was first published on Nov 24, 2014.
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