Residents write 'help us' in the snow as deadly weather hits the US
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Featured Image Credit: NBC News
Desperate residents in California wrote a message saying 'help us' after storms dumped a historic amount of snow in the area.
At least 13 people have died in the US amid winter storms which brought not only snow, but also powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes over the course of a few days.
Last Wednesday (1 March), Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for 13 counties including San Bernardino County, where the sheriff's department received more than 100 phone calls from people asking for assistance. But phone calls weren't the only way people reached out:
Footage broadcast by NBC News shows the snow piled high against houses, trapping cars and covering the roads with ice.
One San Bernardino resident was seen shovelling snow off their roof, seemingly in a bid to avoid the same fate as the local supermarket, where the roof collapsed under the weight of the snow.
Elsewhere, a desperate local drew out the words 'HELP US!!' in the snow.
Resident Lisa Griggs, who has volunteered to deliver food, baby formula and shovels to more desperate people in the area, told the Los Angeles Times: "The county is doing nothing to help the people here. We are in dire straits.”
On Saturday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department shut down a volunteer helicopter operation transporting supplies to residents amid safety concerns.
The department assured it was working with the nonprofit organisation CalDART, which has coordinated aerial disaster relief efforts across California, to escort vehicles with supplies to mountain communities.
On Saturday, San Bernardino officials acknowledged they were unprepared for the unprecedented weather as some areas received as much as 12 feet of snow.
“When it comes to clearing the roads, I’d say we learned some valuable lessons,” San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey said in a joint news conference with state and local officials.
“Unfortunately, the snow came down so quickly and stacked up so quickly those front-end plows that we’re so used to using on a routine basis became ineffective.”
One man in the area told NBC his street hadn't been ploughed in 11 days, adding: "People have been calling 911. We need help."
More than 50 firefighters from San Diego were deployed to the area to help dig out residents who have been stuck in the snow, while hundreds of officials with the National Guard, Cal Fire and California's Office of Emergency Services are working to clear the snow that has piled up in the mountains.