In Buffalo, Roofs Are Collapsing

There's that much snow
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2014 3:55 PM CST
In Buffalo, Roofs Are Collapsing
Mark Settlemyer, left, gets help clearing snow from the roof of his mother's house from Ken Wesley on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Lancaster.   (Mike Groll)

Roofs began to creak and collapse as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total today 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 rushed to dig out. Some areas had received close to 2 feet of new snow by this afternoon. CNN reports the storm-related death toll now stands at 10. The wild card was an expected weekend warmup with rain—raising the specter of flooding and yet more weight pressing down on roofs as snow absorbs the rain.

Roof collapses were reported around the region, including cave-ins that prompted the evacuation of 15 to 20 people today from a suburban Buffalo mobile home park. Another forced the evacuation of about 20 senior citizens from a health care facility. Homes and businesses in the Buffalo area are supposed to be able to handle about 50 pounds per square foot on their roofs, says a structural engineer; he says some buildings in hard-hit areas could be close to that limit now, with more precipitation on the way. (Meanwhile, a baby born at a fire station provided a welcome bit of good news.)

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