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Buffalo driving ban lifted in cleanup of record snowfall

Firefighters dig out
Buffalo firefighters poke the end of their shovels into the deep snow searching for fire hydrants.  

BUFFALO, New York (CNN) -- Using plows and shovels, cleanup crews and residents were clearing more roads Monday after a record snowfall blanketed Buffalo last week.

A driving ban -- which had prohibited all but emergency traffic -- was lifted Sunday evening, and most roads had at least one lane open for traffic, said Dean Messing, deputy commissioner for Erie County Emergency Services.

A state of emergency, however, remained in effect for the city. About one-fifth of the city's roads, Messing said, were only open to foot traffic.

About 7 feet of snow have fallen on Buffalo since Christmas Eve. Messing said it was snowing Monday morning in parts of southern Erie County but not in Buffalo.

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The record snowfall represents about 90 percent of the average snowfall Buffalo usually gets for the entire season.

"Maybe now we won't get anymore," Messing said, joking.

New York Gov. George Pataki declared a state of emergency Friday in Buffalo and called in the National Guard to help.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport reopened Saturday. Government offices were open Monday in the city, but schools remained closed for the holiday break.


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