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Christmas storm breaks records
December 28, 2017
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WASHINGTON: Dreams of a white Christmas have turned into a nightmare in the northeastern US city of Erie after a storm dumped a record-breaking 1.5 metres of snow in a 48-hour period, forcing officials to declare an emergency.

Residents took to social media to post stunning photos of the whiteout, with meteorologists attributing the 58 inches of snow that fell over Christmas Day, Monday, to 5:00pm on Tuesday to icy winds blowing over the adjoining Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes.

The city issued a snow emergency, citing “dangerous and impassable” roads.

More snow was expected at a rate of up to an inch or two per hour as residents were warned to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and pack emergency kits including tow ropes, flashlights, shovels and flares for essential travel.

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced in a statement that the state national guard was “providing high clearance all terrain military vehicles to aid local agencies with medical emergency and law enforcement response.”

According to data from the National Weather Service, the 86 centimetres of snow that fell on December 25 was the highest the city had ever recorded, eclipsing the previous high of 51 centimetres on Nov.22, 1956.

The two-day snowfall of 58 inches, which was still ongoing, also surpassed a previous state record of 44 inches set in Morgantown on March 20-12, 1958.

“The crews are out, but quite simply they can’t keep up with the amount of snow that’s falling,” said Matt Exley, a local emergency official on a Facebook live post.

Erie meanwhile has received 97 inches (245 centimeters) of snow in December, making it the snowiest month in the city’s history -- which usually averages about 100 inches of snow in an entire season.

Residents posted pictures reminiscent of a bleak polar landscape, dubbing the phenomenon #Snowmageddon on Twitter.

Vehicles were buried and visibility was limited in some areas to just a few feet.

By Tuesday night the temperature had plunged to -10º Celsius, with the lake-effect snow warning forecast to continue through Wednesday, potentially adding an additional five to 10 inches of snowfall.

Forecasters warn of sub-zero frigid arctic air and dangerously cold wind chills in much of the US.

Wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for all of North Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as swaths of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

Wind chill advisories were also in effect for parts of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. Meteorologists warn frostbite is possible with as little as 30 minutes of exposure.

the National Weather Service said at least an additional 5 to 10 inches were expected through Wednesday. The storm brought 34 inches of snow on Christmas Day, an all-time daily snowfall record for Erie. Another 24.5 inches fell by Tuesday night, bringing the total since Dec. 23 to more than 62.9 inches.

Agencies

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