US struggles under eight feet of snow

Sunshine greeted residents of New York state in the United States today, giving crews a chance to haul away some of the eight feet of snow that has fallen in parts of the region during the past week.

Sunshine greeted residents of New York state in the United States today, giving crews a chance to haul away some of the eight feet of snow that has fallen in parts of the region during the past week.

The National Weather Service said the bands of lake-effect snow fed by moisture from Lake Ontario would continue weaving up and down the lake’s eastern shore during the weekend, dropping two to four more feet of snow with winds of up to 25 mph.

The village of Parish – about 25 miles north-east of Syracuse – reached a milestone early today with 100 inches of snow over the past seven days, the National Weather Service said.

More than a week of bitter cold and slippery roads have contributed to at least 20 deaths across the north-eastern quarter of America – five in Ohio, four in Illinois, four in Indiana, two in Kentucky, two in Michigan, and one each in Wisconsin, New York and Maryland, authorities said.

Local residents see five- to six-foot snowfalls every two or three years, but even hardened locals are amazed at the scenes before them now: parked SUVs noticeable only because their antennas or roof racks stand above the snow’s surface; front doors buried, with footprints leading to second-story windows; six foot-thick slabs of snow that have slid off roofs, forming colossal arches as they stretch intact to the ground. Pavements look like miniature canyons.

Mark Kelcinski’s son spent two hours on Friday with a shovel and snowblower in front of the family’s graphics design shop, carving a path through the snowbank to the street. They have done the same thing each day for five days.

“That’s all we do is shovel and snowblow all day long,” said Kelcinski. “You go home and then come in and do the same thing again the next day.”

The region is located along the Tug Hill Plateau, the snowiest region this side of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a 50-mile wedge of land that rises 2,100 feet from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and catches the snow-laden winter wind blowing off the lake. It usually gets about 300 inches – roughly 25 feet – of snow a year.

The hamlet of Hooker, near the boundaries of Jefferson, Lewis, and Oswego counties, holds the state record for snowfall in a year – 466.9 inches, about 39 feet, in the winter of 1976-77.

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