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Lake-effect storm buries Erie, Pennsylvania in 5 feet of snow

A record-breaking storm dumped over 5 feet of snow in Erie, Pennsylvania, between Sunday and Tuesday, and there is more snow in the forecast. The lake-effect snowstorm buried the city in 62.9 inches of snow, and that total is expected to approach 70 inches by the time the system moves out of the area.

Erie’s all-time daily snowfall record of 20 inches, which was set in 1956, was broken on Christmas Day when 34 inches of snow fell. The two-day snowfall total of 58.5 inches was the most ever recorded in the entire state of Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper signed a declaration of disaster emergency on Tuesday. As crews worked to clear the main roads, the fresh snow piled up in the streets right behind them. David Mulvihill, the city’s director of public works, said that dozens of vehicles had been abandoned in the streets.

On Facebook, the Erie Police Department wrote, “Roads are dangerous and impassable. This is an incredible amount of snow that we’re trying to move and we appreciate resident cooperation. Residents should stay off of City of Erie streets until it stops snowing, and we can get the roads open.”

Lake-effect snow occurs when a cold air mass moves over a warmer lake. Water vapor is pulled up into the colder air above and produces snowfall which is blown to shore.

The city of Erie currently remains under a Lake Effect Snow Warning issued by the National Weather Service until 4:00 PM.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Samantha Moore, pictured: Andrew Bargh

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