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Biden sends federal aid as New York digs out from huge snowstorm

Cars drive through blowing, drifting snow on McKinley Parkway in Hamburg in Erie County, New York (The Buffalo News via AP)
Cars drive through blowing, drifting snow on McKinley Parkway in Hamburg in Erie County, New York (The Buffalo News via AP)

US President Joe Biden is sending federal aid to western New York state to help state and local authorities clean up from the massive storm that dumped as much as 6ft of snow in western and northern New York.

The emergency declaration authorises the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief in 11 counties hit by the the lake-effect snowstorm on Friday and Saturday.

New York governor Kathy Hochul thanked Mr Biden for granting her request for emergency aid, and added in a news release: “My team and I will continue working around the clock to keep everyone safe, help communities dig out, and secure every last dollar to help rebuild and recover from this unprecedented, record-shattering historic winter storm.”

The US National Weather Service recorded 77in by Saturday in Orchard Park, home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, and 72in in Natural Bridge, a hamlet near Watertown off the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

The storm forced the Bills to move Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit. The Bills won 31-23.

More snow fell overnight on Sunday in some areas, but it stopped by daybreak Monday. “We are finally dry,” weather service meteorologist Liz Jurkowski said.

Snowfall in New York
Crews truck snow in to dump in the car park of Erie Community College in Orchard Park (The Buffalo News via AP)

A driving ban had been lifted for most areas affected by the storm by Monday morning, but schools remained closed in Buffalo and nearby towns.

The snowstorm was at least the worst in New York state since November 2014, when some communities south of Buffalo were hit with 7ft of snow over the course of three days.

Ms Jurkowski said snowfall totals for this storm were still being tabulated.