NEWS

Snow-Covered Buffalo Area Faces New Risk: Flooding

11/21/2014 07:32 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST
After being covered by mountains of snow this week, residents of the Buffalo, N.Y., area now have something else to worry about: flooding.

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the area, as sharply warmer weekend temperatures are forecast to be accompanied by some rain.

The national forecaster say the temperature in Buffalo is expected to hit 10 C on Sunday and 16 C on Monday.

At first, the snow pack will absorb much of the water from the snow melt, the weather service said. 

As the snow pack "ripens," however  — with the the addition of roughly 13 mm of rainfall Sunday night and Monday — the potential for flooding will rapidly increase, the forecaster said.

"Because of the unusual nature of this storm, there will be flooding, we expect, in places that have not … that do not normally experience it," said Erie County deputy executive Richard Tobe. 

The three-day, lake-effect storm dumped about two metres of snow in some areas of western New York. It closed roads, stranded residents in their homes, left some store shelves empty and some service stations of out fuel. 

The death toll from the storm rose to 12 following the deaths of two residents of a nursing home that had to be evacuated Thursday in Cheektowaga after the building's ceiling began to bulge.

The snow is straining roofs, leaving crews scrambling to get the heavy weight off buildings. Officials said Friday that 30 collapses were reported overnight.

Tobe said most of the collapses involved farm buildings and flat roofs. He said more collapses are expected to be found Friday morning.

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