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Buffalo Digs Out from Snow as Flooding, Roof Collapse Fears Loom

Snow storms that brought huge drifts and closed roads in the Buffalo area finally ended, but residents still can't breathe easy.

Dump trucks wait to unload snow that was removed from south Buffalo neighborhoods after heavy lake-effect snowstorms on Nov. 21 in Buffalo, N.Y.

A snowfall that brought huge drifts and closed roads in the Buffalo area finally ended Friday, yet residents still couldn't breathe easy, as the looming threat of rain and higher temperatures through the weekend and beyond raised the possibility of floods and more roofs collapsing under the heavy loads.

Mike Groll / AP

A man pulls a sleigh full of gas and supplies down a snow-covered street after a trip to the store, in the town of West Seneca near Buffalo, Nov. 20.

A stretch of the New York State Thruway through western New York remained closed, and with deliveries interrupted, some grocery stores reported running low on staples like bread and milk.

Stringer / X80002

Tom Wilczak shovels snow from the roof of his home following a storm in Buffalo on Nov. 20.

More than 30 roof collapses, most involving farm and flat-roof buildings, were reported overnight, officials said Friday, after snow Thursday brought the Buffalo area's three-day total to an epic 7 feet or more.

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

Aaron Lynett / X03257

Firefighters from Cheektowaga and Depew attend to patients from Garden Gate Health Care Facility in the town of Cheektowaga near Buffalo, on Nov. 20. Approximately 180 patients from the facility were evacuated after roof issues were found from the snowfall.

The storms were blamed for at least 12 deaths in western New York. The most recent victims were two elderly residents of an evacuated nursing home.

Stringer / X80002

Annabella Hopkins peeks over a snowbank piled high at this intersection in Cheektowaga, N.Y., Nov. 20. The corner of Borden Rd. and Woodside has been a staging ground for media outlets filing reports on storms that have dumped more than 5 feet of snow on western New York.

Gary Wiepert / FR170498 AP

Greg Waters tries to remove some of the five feet of snow from a driveway on Nov. 20, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo.

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.

John Normile / Getty Images North America

Sydney, a six year old Golden retriever, makes her way through five feet of snow from a driveway on Nov. 20, in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York.

John Normile / Getty Images North America

Mark Webster uses a snow rake to clear snow off of his roof as snow continues to fall just south of Buffalo, on Nov. 20.

Because the Buffalo area is so snowy, building codes require homes and businesses to be able to handle up to 50 pounds per square foot on their roofs. Officials said some buildings may be close to that limit now, with more precipitation on the way.

Cheryl Webster / EPA

Storm clouds and snow blow from Lake Erie over the still-closed Route 5 highway in Lackawanna, near Buffalo, Nov. 20.

Some Buffalo-area schools were closed for the fourth 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.

--Associated Press

•Gallery: Aerial Photos Show Force of Buffalo Storm

Aaron Lynett / X03257