In the last week, Buffalo has been hit by record amounts of snow catalyzed by lake-effect snowfall. In the Buffalo area, 55 to 88 inches of snow has triggered 13 deaths and stranded thousands of cars as highways have been largely closed. The snow elicited a call for over 500 National Guard troops to fix the highways and assorted roads.
The Los Angeles Times reports that although the snow has eased, the 50-60 degree temperatures expected to follow, accompanied by heavy rain, may catalyze flooding. Buffalo residents prepared for the worst, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a warning Saturday to store food and flashlights. Cuomo boasted that 8 swift-rescue boats, 375 water pumps and 176,000 sandbags had been sent to Buffalo for the prospective emergency, saying, “We are preparing for the worst as we enter phase 2 of this battle with Mother Nature.”
There may be as much as three-quarters of an inch of rain this weekend. Cuomo added that residents should increase their awareness of the consequences of snow melting on their roofs. He said, “Flooding can be worse than the snow, no doubt about it.” Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz’s spokesman, Peter Anderson, claimed 30 roofs have already collapsed.
The worst snowfall in recent memory in Buffalo was the blizzard of 1977; 23 people died in the snowfall, which amounted to as much as 100 inches of snow between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1.
As bad as it is, the lake-effect snow will not match the NY state record: 49 inches in 24 hours in Watertown in 1900. But even that state record was dwarfed in 1921 by something across the country: 76 inches in 24 hours in Silver lake Colorado in 1921.
As far as how much a city in New York state can absorb, nothing compares to the 141 inches of snow dumped on Redfield in 10 days in February, 2007.