Roofs in Buffalo begin collapsing, death toll reaches at least 10

Buffalo Pounded With Snowstorms

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Roofs began to creak and collapse and homeowners struggled to clear waist-high drifts atop their houses Thursday as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total to an epic 7 feet or more.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged drivers "pretty, pretty please" to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads in western New York while crews tried to dig out. Some areas got close to 3 feet of new snow by Thursday afternoon.

Things could quickly get worse: Rain and temperatures as high as 60 were forecast over the weekend, raising the specter of flooding and an even heavier load on roofs, where the snow could absorb the downpours like a blanket.

More than 50 people were evacuated from several mobile home parks in suburban Cheektowaga and West Seneca because roofs were buckling. Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Timothy Roma 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.

Local media reported that about 180 residents of a Cheektowaga assisted living facility were evacuated after staff members noticed the ceiling bulging under the weight of the snow.

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

"It's getting heavier," said Cheektowaga resident Thomas Mudd Jr., who with his wife spent several hours shoveling 4 to 5 feet off his roof. "It's supposed to warm up and we're supposed to get rain on the weekend, which will make it even heavier. So I didn't want my roof collapsing."

The storms were blamed for at least 10 deaths in western New York, mostly from heart attacks and exposure.

With roads impassable, driving bans in effect and the Buffalo Bills' stadium buried in snow, the NFL decided to move Sunday's home game against the New York Jets to another location, still to be determined.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo said holding the game would jeopardize public safety.

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.

Thirty-seven inches fell on the town of Wales southeast of Buffalo late Wednesday and Thursday, for a three-day total of more than 7 feet.

Even for the Buffalo area - one of the snowiest and hardiest places in America - this was one for the history books. The three-day total is close to the nearly 8 feet that the region typically gets over 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.

Because the Buffalo area is so snowy, the building codes require homes and businesses to be able to handle up to 50 pounds per square foot on their roofs, which would be about as heavy as a slab of concrete 4 inches thick, according to Mark Bajorek, a structural engineer.

As anyone who has ever shoveled snow knows, its weight depends in part on how wet or fluffy it is, not just on how deep it is. But Bajorek said some buildings may be close to that limit now, with more precipitation on the way.

---

Associated Press writer Michael Hill and Mary Esch contributed from Albany.

48 PHOTOS
Upstate New York lake-effect snow 11/21/2014
See Gallery
Roofs in Buffalo begin collapsing, death toll reaches at least 10
Shoveling the roof in Lake View south of #Buffalo #Snovember http://t.co/H5xRwDIY5W
Roof collapses reported in Buffalo after massive storm dumps 7 feet of snow. http://t.co/YR0OkLp2J6 http://t.co/5QqUQevTFQ
Snow-covered Buffalo area faces new risk: flooding http://t.co/NBj5um2TlM http://t.co/8sdGq3fvD4
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20, 2014: Tami Normile and Richard Brooks attempt to remove some of the five feet of snow from a roof top on November 20, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York.The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Sydney, a six year old Golden retriever, makes her way through five feet of snow from a driveway on November 20, 2014 in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
Igloos? No. These are homes in Cheektowaga, NY -- outside Buffalo. http://t.co/JISxjcA5gZ
Buffalo, NY was hit with 6-10 feet of snow. That's legit crazy http://t.co/UEXxFAd1gh
Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills head to Detroit http://t.co/cdg76edkJC http://t.co/54ocRi1Yjn
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 19, 2014: Drew Ahmed makes his way through nearly five feet of snow on November 19, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Four deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Norbert Schnorr attempts to remove some of the five feet of snow from a driveway on November 20, 2014 in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Sydney, a six year old Golden retriever, makes her way through five feet of snow from a driveway on November 20, 2014 in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20, 2014: Tami Normile and Richard Brooks attempt to remove some of the five feet of snow from a roof top on November 20, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20, 2014: Mike Ostrander tries to remove some of the five feet of snow from his roof on November 20, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Seven deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight and into Thursday. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 19, 2014: Drew Ahmed makes his way through nearly five feet of snow on November 19, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Four deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 19, 2014: Olivia Ahmed makes her way through nearly five feet of snow on November 19, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Four deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 19, 2014: Greg Mitri shovels his way through nearly five feet of snow on November 19, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. Four deaths have already been attributed to the storm and a second round beginning late Wednesday evening will bring up to three more feet of snow overnight. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
Trucks remain stranded on the Thruway outside Buffalo http://t.co/bkoADs6eVB
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: In this handout provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the GOES-East satellite, infrared image shows icy cold Canadian air settles over the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. bringing snow and bitter cold pictured at 12:30 UTC on November 19, 2014. The deep low pressure system is pushing polar air over the Eastern U.S. is centered over southeastern Canada. The storm has already dumped 5 feet of snow outside Buffalo, New York with more on the way. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
PHOTO: The inside of Ralph Wilson stadium under a thick blanket of snow and blowing drifts. http://t.co/7Hg3gFcOMI
Tractor trailers & cars stranded on I 90 highway. Snowmobiles checking for any remaining drivers. #BuffaloSnow #nywx http://t.co/275EtMUIiZ
Literally the snow is crashing through homes in Buffalo! @10weather @ABC @AriWeather @Ken_Brewer http://t.co/rzUl4GR5Qf
The longest interstate in the United States is at a standstill. Snowmobiles patrolling on i90. #BuffaloSnow #nywx http://t.co/woBTT2RSRK
Buffalo Police cruiser gets stuck at 1200 Clinton and then bursts into flames. Cops unhurt. #WGRZsnow @WGRZ http://t.co/GwPCPEy2nj
WOW! Around 5 feet of snow closing down Interstate 90 near Buffalo, New York. Photo: NY State Police. #Snow #NYwx http://t.co/h5zTAd3MyA
Photo from Caitlin Battaglia who is stuck on the Thruway near Lackawanna tolls. http://t.co/RVcJCi7q1b
Day two on the NYS thruway. #stranded #snowbound http://t.co/vbwPsXFG71
Take a look at what Troopers were up against earlier today on the NYS Thruway. http://t.co/lm8NGOe99y
Uh. Wow. Alden, NY. Posted by Shannon L Roetzer to @Wgrz FB page. #LakeEffect http://t.co/odyCcxFTcL
Recent storm tracks (fresh snowfall) & more cold air (cloud streets) over Great Lakes today via #MODIS #GreatLakes http://t.co/2upmIfoLn5
Heavy snow forecast for areas of the Great Lakes region. GOES East imagery from 9:45 am EST. http://t.co/tTvWqcmpGG http://t.co/HBC4DuYTId
'I've lost my house!': Crazy photos show New York state buried by snow http://t.co/kz4EdILbhs via @mashable http://t.co/ncAyUxhGjc
Kids and dogs enjoy the snow in Orchard Park. http://t.co/3fU4oVPxYH
@HeatherLyWGRZ shoulder deep here lancaster elma border http://t.co/0GBwtC6Xge
How would you like to open your front door and see this? East Lancaster, NY… Photo from Tara Schwab #nywx http://t.co/tzkaBcVNJp
West Seneca, NY is literally snowed in today. http://t.co/aGy9iNWunw #BuffaloSnow http://t.co/Q1lMkskP6N
The #Buffalo, NY area is in the midst of a truly insane lake effect snow storm. http://t.co/aGy9iNWunw #BuffaloSnow http://t.co/Zacgr8mfGV
Snow day #2 tomorrow? http://t.co/LoJzJPCP5V
35 floors up, looking south across lake. Wall of lake effect snow. http://t.co/280RUY8raj
#WGRZsnow http://t.co/Me7Hvv5vTt
#WGRZsnow Here in Cheektowaga right by John F Kennedy High School! http://t.co/qnfZapRhS5
Genuinely concerned about our safety now, can't see anything! http://t.co/3zGLwVHYoy

A snow wall creeps towards Buffalo in this photo posted by WBEN NewsRadio:

Lake effect from above! Thanks to one of our listeners, Brett Kostrzewski for sending this shot from a plane over the lake effect line just south of Buffalo. Gives you an appreciation of sunshine in one spot and blizzard-like conditions in others. Which side of the line are you on?

This is a wall of snow coming off the lake into #Buffalo #Snow #Weather
Snow Day! #lackawanna @wgrz #weather http://t.co/IgcCQAsFFJ
Buried alive!!! ❄️⛄️❄️⛄️❄️⛄️ guess I'll work from home. Gotta love #Buffalosnow #SNovember http://t.co/z0HIMlyNj4
More photos from the core of lake effect snow band south of Buffalo, NY @FoxMariaMolina @foxandfriends http://t.co/eH94h4G1ik
Good morning from Buffalo. That's a 6ft fence under that snow. Been stuck here for 26hrs now and no sign of moving soon. Also, a new snow front come through later... #tourlife #buffalo #snow #hothandroll
That poor women has been stuck in her car for nearly 24 hours and help has just now arrived
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Related AOL.com coverage:
Sabres postpone Friday's NHL game against Rangers
Video shows time-lapse of huge storm hitting
What to do if you get stranded on a highway in a snowstorm
Bills make offer fans $10 an hour and free tickets to help shovel out stadium
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.