Roofs creak and collapse as Buffalo snowfall total hits 6 feet or more

Roofs began to creak and collapse under the weight as another storm brought the Buffalo area’s three-day snowfall total Thursday to an epic 6 feet or more.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roofs began to creak and collapse under the weight as another storm brought the Buffalo area’s three-day snowfall total Thursday to an epic 6 feet or more.

Snow-weary residents of western New York were asked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “pretty, pretty please” stay off slippery, car-clogged roads for another day as crews struggled to dig out. Some areas got close to 2 feet of new snow by Thursday afternoon.

The wild card was an expected weekend warmup with rain — raising the spectre of flooding and an even heavier load pressing down on roofs, where the snow could absorb the rain like a blanket.

More than 30 people were evacuated from several mobile home parks in suburban Cheektowaga, where roofs were buckling, Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Timothy Roma said. He 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.

Homeowners and store employees around the region climbed onto roofs to shovel off the snow and reduce the danger.

The immediate concern Thursday was recovering from the 5 feet or more of snow that fell earlier in the week. National Guardsmen drove nurses to work their hospital shifts. State troopers helped elderly residents trapped in their homes. State officials assembled 463 plows, 129 loaders and 40 dump trucks from across the state.

Some Buffalo-area schools were closed for the third day, burning through snow days with winter still a month away.

A stretch of the New York State Thruway through western New York remained closed with more than 300 truckers idled at truck stops and service areas, waiting for the highway to reopen.

With deliveries interrupted, some grocery stores reported running low on staples like bread and milk.

Officials also cast doubt on whether the region would recover enough for the Buffalo Bills to host the New York Jets on Sunday. The seats and field of the Bills’ stadium south of Buffalo were buried in snow. Many roads are impassible, and a driving ban remained in place in many communities.

“Right now, my sense is it’s impractical to do the game because it would jeopardize public safety,” the governor said.

Even for the Buffalo area — one of the snowiest and hardiest places in America — this was one for the record books, with the three-day total close to the 8 feet that the region typically gets in an entire year.

“No matter how you cut it, this event will end up in the top five for the Lake Erie area,” said National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini.

Homes and businesses in the snowy Buffalo area are supposed to be able to handle about 50 pounds per square foot on their roofs, according to Mark Bajorek, a structural engineer. He said some buildings may be close to that limit now, with more precipitation on the way.

Just Posted

Red Deer woman target of robbery in broad daylight, near police station

Walking home, in broad daylight, Barb Smith never thought for a minute… Continue reading

Red Deer County developing regional plans

Red Deer County must prepare 14 intermunicipal agreements according to new provincial rules

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month