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Roofs collapse under heavy snow

Roofs began to creak and collapse under the weight as another storm added to already heavy snow in western New York state.

The three-day snowfall total reached 6ft (1.8m) or more in the Buffalo area.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged residents to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads for another day as crews rushed to dig out. Some areas had received close to 2ft (0.6m) of new snow by this afternoon.

The wild card was an expected weekend thaw with rain - raising the spectre of flooding and yet more weight pressing down on roofs, where the snow could absorb the rain like a blanket.

Roof collapses were reported around the region, including cave-ins which prompted the evacuation of 15 to 20 people from a suburban Buffalo mobile home park.

Home-owners and store employees climbed on to roofs to shovel off the snow and reduce the danger.

The immediate concern today was recovering from the 5ft (1.5m) or more of snow that fell earlier in the week.

National Guardsmen drove nurses to work for their hospital shifts. State troopers helped elderly residents trapped in their homes. State officials assembled 463 ploughs, 129 loaders and 40 dump trucks from across the state.

Some Buffalo-area schools were closed for the third consecutive 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 lorry drivers idled at truck stops and service areas, waiting for the highway to reopen.

With deliveries interrupted, some stores reported running low on staples like bread and milk.

Officials also cast doubt on whether the region would recover enough for the NFL's Buffalo Bills to host the New York Jets on Sunday. The seats and field of the Bills' home stadium south of Buffalo were buried in snow.

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