As snow melts, floods a growing concern in Buffalo
BUFFALO — Residents of western New York may soon have to worry about the water in their basements as well as the snow on their roofs.
After a three-day onslaught that dumped a historic 7 feet of snow on the Buffalo area and killed at least 12 people, the sun came out Friday, but so did predictions of flooding caused by rain, temperatures up to 60 degrees and blocked catch basins.
“We are preparing now for more flooding than we’ve seen in a long, long time,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “We still have that challenge to look forward to.” Cuomo said the state was sending in pumps, boats, helicopters and high-axle vehicles that can operate in 4 to 5 feet of water.
“If we’re lucky, we won’t need any of it,” he said. “But prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for Sunday to Wednesday.
The snow remained a huge challenge. Officials were urging people to put off nonessential travel so snow removal efforts could progress. Cuomo reopened a 132-mile stretch of the state Thruway that had been closed since Tuesday, but several exit ramps remained closed along the westernmost 75 miles.
Local travel bans were beginning to be lifted Friday so delivery trucks could bring in food and other essentials to depleted supermarkets, the governor said.
Two more deaths were announced. A 50-year-old man was found Friday morning in his car, which was buried in snow in Cheektowaga, police said. One elderly resident of a nursing home, also in Cheektowaga, died after it was evacuated amid concerns of a roof collapse, a spokeswoman for the home said.