Creeks appeared to be flowing smoothly and no flooding had been
reported as the sun began to go down, county officials said.
More than 775 members of the New York National Guard were in Erie
County and Buffalo to help with flood prevention after days of work
to clear roads and dig homes and cars out of the record snow from a
storm that killed 13 people.
Roofs collapsed and some people were stuck in their cars for more
than 24 hours when the heaviest snow fall in memory hit areas of New
York state along the Great Lakes. The November storm system, dubbed
the "Knife Storm," lasted for three days.
The National Weather Service said roads could flood quickly from
snow melt since the storm blocked drains, and issued warnings for
potential flooding of four rivers and creeks.
"We hope to get back to business on Monday. Government offices will
be open. Schools will be open. We are sending teams of structural
engineers in to inspect any school that might have the potential of
a structural problem," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news
Flood warnings were in effect as the NWS said higher temperatures -
rising to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) on Sunday and 60 F on
Monday - could rapidly unlock up to 6 inches (15 cm) of water.
As the dinner hour set in, no flooding had been reported, Erie
County spokesman Peter Anderson said in an email.
"Resources are being staged for quick deployment and all eyes are on
the creeks," he said. "The weather is warmer and snow is melting,
but creeks are flowing well."
Cuomo said the state had prepared in case of widespread flooding,
moving in hundreds of pumps, tens of thousands of sandbags and
putting together a robust evacuation plan.
[to top of second column]
Three sandbagging machines and 176,500 sandbags were among the
supplies taken to staging areas. Ellen Przepasniak, spokeswoman for
the Erie County emergency operations effort, said sandbags would be
quickly deployed to cities and towns that report rising waters.
The state has provided some 3,000 tons of sand to fill the bags,
Inmates from the Erie County Jail holding center were filling
sandbags in a parking lot, as New York city firefighters loaded
boats into the backs of pickups and dump trucks.
National Guard deployed front-end loaders, dump trucks and
airfield-grade snow-removal trucks for snow removal, as well as
tractor-trailers, 20 high axle vehicles for driving through flood
waters, and two helicopters.
(Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Writing by Fiona Ortiz;
Editing by Andrew Roche and Marguerita Choy)
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