Buffalo residents urged to prepare for flooding
BUFFALO, New York (AP) — Buffalo is making significant progress clearing streets still clogged from an epic storm left more than 7 feet (2.1 meters of snow even as a flooding threat looms, the city’s mayor said Sunday.
A ban on driving will continue in hard-hit South Buffalo as hundreds of dump trucks, loaders and other snow removal equipment continue to work around the clock, Mayor Byron Brown said.
Temperatures in the Buffalo area climbed into the 40s Fahrenheit (5 t0 10 degrees Celsius) Sunday, raising fears of flooding in the region. A flood warning from the National Weather Service is in effect until Monday afternoon.
“We are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best,” Brown said.
Hundreds of volunteers turned out in a “shovel brigade” Saturday to help beleaguered Buffalo residents dig out after they were pummeled by a lake effect snow from Lake Erie.
“They’re like angels,” said Kevin Masterson, 61, after a handful of volunteers swarmed in to free his and his brother-in-law’s cars from the drifts. “I was out shoveling and ... all of the sudden I had all these people.”
One of the volunteers, Greg Schreiber, said he’d keep going “until the back gives out.”
City officials said residents should prepare for the possibility of flooded basements in the coming days. Rain was expected Sunday and temperatures were forecast to approach 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) on Monday, accompanied by more rain.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said there might be trouble with drainage as snow and uncollected autumn leaves block catch basins. The threat of rain also heightened fears of roof collapses on already strained structures. Thirty major collapses have been reported.
The state already is moving stockpiles of pumps, sand bags and other flood provisions into the region.
The snow, which began late Monday and finally cleared out of all areas by daybreak Friday, has been blamed for at least 12 deaths.