Western New Yorkers Buried by Snow Now Also Have to Worry About Flooding

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Photo: John Normile/Getty Images

The massive lake-effect snowstorm that hit western New York this week is finally letting up, but residents of the area now have another thing to worry about: flooding. Temperatures are expected to climb to almost 60 degrees over the weekend, which means that all that snow — as much as seven feet of it in some places — could turn into a lot of water very quickly. Oh, and it’s also supposed to rain.

Meanwhile, at least 30 buildings collapsed under the snow’s weight on Thursday night, and local authorities expect that many more will follow. The Associated Press reports: 

More than 50 people were evacuated from several mobile home parks in suburban Cheektowaga and West Seneca because roofs were buckling. Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Timothy Roma said more than a dozen buildings and carports collapsed, as did a metal warehouse operated by a Christmas decorations company, where damage was estimated in the millions.

Local media reported that about 180 residents of a Cheektowaga assisted living facility were evacuated after staff members noticed the ceiling bulging under the weight of the snow.

NBC News reports that the storm has caused a total of 13 deaths, two of which happened during the evacuation of the assisted-living facility. While Governor Cuomo said that roads in the area — including a shutdown stretch of the New York State Thruway — should be open by Friday afternoon, he asked drivers to “pretty, pretty please” stay at home unless their need to travel is urgent. Welcome to (early) winter 2015