Erie, Pennsylvania, is used to snowstorms, but this week’s is one for the books.
The city nestled in the state’s northwest corner has been hit with over 63 inches of snow since Christmas Eve, shattering records and prompting Erie County officials to declare a disaster emergency.
Some 34 inches fell on Christmas Day alone, breaking Erie’s all-time, single-day record by over a foot, according to the National Weather Service. The city’s previous record was 20 inches in November 1956.
The storm also broke two-day snowfall records for the state, with 53 inches falling between Christmas Eve and Tuesday. The previous record was set in March 1958, when 44 inches fell on Morgantown, roughly 320 miles southeast of Erie, the NWS reported.
This week’s massive snowfall made December 2017 the snowiest month in Erie’s recorded history by more than 30 inches, the NWS reported. As of Tuesday evening, over 97 inches had fallen in Erie this month; the previous record was 66.9 inches set in December 1989.
The city, home to just under 100,000 people as of 2016, is situated on the east side of Lake Erie. The historic snowfall resulted from a lake-effect storm, which occurs when cold, dry air passes over a relatively warmer body of water and collects moisture.
A lake-effect snow warning for the area remained in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday, with an additional 3-to-6 inches expected to fall.
Emily Forish, a 31-year-old marketing executive and Erie native, said of the storm: “It was just so much all at once.”
“I’ve seen pretty bad snow, but nothing compares to the last three days,” she told HuffPost.
“I just don’t want to risk going out,” she said. “My parents said their neighborhood is like a car graveyard. ... There’s just cars on the side of the road abandoned.”
But the snow, which has left Forish cooped up in her home for the last few days, isn’t inspiring her to move somewhere warmer.
“No one ever expected we were going to see anything like this, but it doesn’t make me want to leave,” she said. “This is home. It’s going to take more than this to get us to leave.”
People shared shots of the historic snowfall on social media: