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Bitter cold ahead for much of northern US

28 December 2017

A storm in Erie, Pennsylvania, brought 34ins of snow on Christmas Day, an all-time daily snowfall record, and another 24.5ins by Tuesday night. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkempe issued a temporary disaster emergency declaration that mobilized resources to help the area.

A total of 34in (86cm) of snow blanketed the city and surrounding areas in the Pennsylvania state. A statement from the NWS warns snow may continue through Wednesday, with accumulations up to another six inches.

A number of cars and homes were buried in snow, with some residents having to shovel their way out.

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The city's 100,000 resident are use to intense weather.

In some areas of Erie, residents saw snow growing by one inch every 15 minutes, which is very unusual even by the city's standards.

Forecasters say the heavy storms this week are a outcome of lake-effect snow, a phenomenon in which cold air combines with warmer lake water to create intense bands of snow.

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"The last two decades we haven't had as much snow as we used to have in the 1970s", Mayor Joseph Sinnott told the Washington Post.

As of Wednesday morning, snow was still falling in Erie, according to the National Weather Service.

"Although we have had snow, not like this, so people are not used to it".

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Forecasters in the U.S. warned of sub-zero arctic air and dangerously cold wind chills across much of the country as snow continued to pile up in one city which already has almost 63ins on the ground. Meteorologists say frostbite is possible with as little as 30 minutes of exposure.

Bitter cold ahead for much of northern US