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Old Man Winter Knocks Hard On One Buffalo, N.Y., Resident's Door

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I bet you've noticed this - it is cold, cold in the West, cold in the East, it's cold in the South and it is really cold in the North. Snow, early and heavy has prompted New York officials to declare a state of emergency for 10 western New York counties around Buffalo. Even veterans of brutal winters there say this one's a doozy. More than five feet of snow fell and forecasters predict another two to three feet will come tonight. At least seven storm related deaths have been reported. Some people are trying to dig out from Tuesday's storm, others are simply staying indoors. Here's West Seneca, New York resident, Jim Grimaldi.

JIM GRIMALDI: I'm going out to the garage right now. I'm opening the garage and there's four feet of snow there to greet me. A beautiful sunny day, but there is a massive tree down in the middle of the road and the road is totally unplowed.

BLOCK: Grimaldi went outside briefly, but he turned around and gave up. Instead, the professional filmmaker sent his camera drone out over his neighborhood and he posted the snowy scene online. Another upstate New York resident, Chris Hazard of Cheektowaga didn't have to venture outside to trudge through the snow, the snow came crashing in.

CHRIS HAZARD: We heard a big boom - and we actually thought it was the roof coming in - and we went to our back of our house and our French doors actually were blown in by the pressure of the snow.

BLOCK: So the snow had piled up to such an extent that it forced the doors into the house?

HAZARD: It did. The door jams and everything, it's all blown into the back of the house.

BLOCK: Wow - and a whole bunch of snow, I guess?

HAZARD: Yes, yes. We were shoveling that back out (laughter).

BLOCK: How long did it take you to shovel the snow from inside the house back outside?

HAZARD: Probably a good hour.

BLOCK: And how many folks did you have working on that?

HAZARD: Four.

BLOCK: Well, what do you do when your doors are blown in by a huge mountain of snow?

HAZARD: What we did was we kind of put the doors back in where they were supposed to go. They're held in there with a six-foot table and our treadmill is holding it in place.

BLOCK: You've propped the doors up with some heavy equipment, in other words?

HAZARD: Yeah. We're just hoping they stay up, at least until help can get here and fix our big hole.

BLOCK: You know, I saw some pictures that you posted, Chris, on Facebook and I see some firefighters standing there with your family.

HAZARD: Yes, they actually arrived probably about four hours after it happened and then the gentleman actually walked in six foot of snow for blocks to actually get us to see if we were OK.

BLOCK: And Ms. Hazard, do you have power?

HAZARD: Yes.

BLOCK: Can you get out of the house?

HAZARD: If we can squeeze over a mountain of snow and pretty much our only access point would be removing those doors again, or our garage is connected to our home so if we lift the garage door.

BLOCK: You know, I wonder, Ms. Hazard if you live where you do near Buffalo if you get used to weather like this? I mean, you always get a lot of snow, winters are cold, winters are long and hard. Does this feel sort of like, well, this is what it's like here?

HAZARD: You know what? It's usually not this bad. I mean, yeah we get cold then we get a lot of snow, but this is dangerous - so we're used to it, but only to a certain extent.

BLOCK: Have you been able to check with friends nearby to make sure everybody's OK?

HAZARD: Thank God, yes we have. We actually have a 90-year-old elderly neighbor that actually lives across the street from us alone and she is totally barricaded in her house. The snow has passed her front door, but other neighbors have made contact to make sure she's OK as well.

BLOCK: And she's doing all right?

HAZARD: Yes, she is.

BLOCK: Well, Ms. Hazard, hang in there and thanks for talking with us.

HAZARD: Thank you.

BLOCK: That's Chris Hazard of Cheektowaga, New York. And the Buffalo Bills are asking fans to help shovel 220,000 tons of snow out of their stadium. The football team is offering $10 an hour plus free tickets so the game can go on this Sunday. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.