People in storm-socked areas around Buffalo began returning to work on Monday as fast-melting mounds of snow fed into creeks that were starting to swell.
Temperatures were expected to hit nearly 60 degrees, causing Buffalo area residents to prepare for evacuations caused by runoff from melting snow, and overflowing creeks. It was not clear how widespread flooding would be almost a week after western New York was pummeled by an epic snowfall.
David Fruehauf, 71, was out early clearing leaves from a storm drain in front of his house in suburban Orchard Park.
"These are the enemies of a sewer," Fruehauf said, staring down at leaves surrounding the drain. There's still a long ways to go. The stuff is shrinking, but it's got to have a place to go."
The National Weather Service said rain overnight into Monday amounted to about one-tenth of an inch across the areas that had received the heaviest snowfall. Forecasts call for rain showers on Monday and a chance of rain and snow showers by early Tuesday.
The NWS has issued a flood warning for Monday and cautioned that trees weakened by heavy snowfall and saturated soil could come crashing down. High wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour also could topple electrical wires and trigger power outages.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday warned residents in flood-prone areas around Buffalo to move valuables up from the basement, pack a bag and prepare for the possibility of evacuation. Cuomo said evacuation plans and emergency shelters were being readied in case of flooding. "Err on the side of caution," Cuomo said at a news conference in Cheektowaga. "You prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and that's what we're doing."
Most snow-affected school districts remain closed Monday, and at least four called off classes for the entire Thanksgiving week.