Erie, Pennsylvania Just Got Buried in 53 Inches of Snow in 30 Hours

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iStock

Be careful what you wish for: Residents of Erie, Pennsylvania who were dreaming of a white Christmas got more than they bargained for when a jaw-dropping 53 inches of snow fell on the city and its surrounding areas over a 30-hour period. The white stuff started to fall on Christmas Day, and by the end of Monday there was a total of 34 inches on the ground, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland. It was a record-setting total for the city, clobbering its previous snowiest-day-ever, when 20 inches fell on November 11, 1956. But Mother Nature wasn't done with them yet.

The heavy snowfall continued into Tuesday morning, dropping another 19 inches, for a grand total of 53 inches of snow—just under 4.5 feet—by Tuesday morning. But it’s still not over; the snow is expected to continue through Wednesday. The city of Erie and several surrounding areas have declared snow emergencies, and requested that residents stay off the “dangerous and impassable” roads until emergency workers can make them safe for drivers again.

Chuck Zysk, Erie’s assistant director of public works, told GoErie.com that he had never seen this much snow in such a short period of time. “I think our guys are doing a tremendous job," he said. "But we have work ahead of us." Adding to the challenge is the number of vehicles that were abandoned in the middle of city streets after getting stuck in the snow.

As of 9:12 a.m., however, U.S. mail carriers were still scheduled to hit the roads and make their deliveries. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” may not be the USPS’s official motto, but maybe it should be.

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

5 Ways to Help Victims of the West Coast’s Wildfires

A wildfire near Shaver Lake, California, earlier this month.
A wildfire near Shaver Lake, California, earlier this month.
David McNew/Getty Images

Wildfires continue to ravage millions of acres across California, Oregon, and Washington, and strong winds forecasted in some of those regions could aggravate the blazes. To prevent future fires, we need to focus on combating climate change through policy reform and sustainable living. But for people directly affected by the fires, their current needs are much more urgent: food, shelter, and funds. Here are five organizations that can help you help victims.

1. Red Cross

The Red Cross has about 600 workers coordinating meal distribution, installing victims in shelters and hotels, and providing other support across Northern California. You can donate to the cause by choosing “Western Wildfires” under “I Want to Support” on the donation page here.

2. GoFundMe

GoFundMe’s affiliated nonprofit, GoFundMe.org, has created a Wildfire Relief Fund for this particular outbreak of fires on the West Coast. You can make a donation to the overall fund here, or you can explore the separate hubs in the description to find individual GoFundMe pages to give to.

3. Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation

Unfortunately, the city of Los Angeles doesn’t allocate enough public funds to the fire department to equip firefighters with all the important gear they need. The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation tries to fill those demands by providing things like hydration backpacks, thermal-imaging cameras, brush-clearing tools, and more. You can donate to the general fund here, or choose a specific fire station from the dropdown menu.

4. VEMAnet

VEMAnet (Volunteers for the Emergency Management of Animals Network), is an offshoot of the Good Shepherd Foundation, which links animal owners who need emergency help with volunteers who can transport and/or house their animals—anything from cats to cattle—temporarily. You can post details about what animals you can accommodate here; and if you or someone you know needs help evacuating any pets, you can request help or browse available listings here.

5. California Fire Foundation

The California Fire Foundation’s Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program distributes $250 gift cards to wildfire victims, so they can decide for themselves what their most pressing needs are. You can donate here.