Joe Biden is sending federal aid to Western New York state to help authorities clean up after a massive storm dumped up to 6 feet of snow in western and northern areas.
Emergency declaration authorizes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in 11 counties affected by the snowfall “lake effect” Friday and Saturday.
The snowstorm crippled parts of the state and caused flights to be canceled and forced some schools to close.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul thanked the president for providing emergency relief, adding, “My team and I will continue to work around the clock to keep everyone safe, help communities excavate and secure until last dollar to help rebuild and recover from this unprecedented, historic, record-breaking winter storm.”
The US National Weather Service recorded 77 inches (195 cm) of snow in Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, on Saturday.
The storm forced the Bills to postpone Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns in Detroit.
More snow fell overnight in some areas on Sunday, but it stopped early Monday morning.
While driving bans were lifted Monday morning for most areas affected by the storm, schools remained closed in Buffalo and nearby cities.
The snowstorm was the worst in upstate New York since November 2014, when some communities south of Buffalo were hit with 7 feet (2.1 m) of snow over the course of three days.
“Lake effect” snow forms when dry, freezing air picks up moisture and heat as it moves along warmer lake water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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It evaporates some of the lake water into the air, making it warmer and more humid.
As the air cools and moves out of the lake, it dumps all the moisture onto the ground. And when it’s cold enough, massive snowfall occurs.