A lake-effect snow storm dropped several inches of snow in western New York on Friday, with at least 4 feet of snow expected through Sunday in the Buffalo area.
The storm was blamed for the deaths of two people who suffered “cardiac events” during snow removal.
A state of emergency remained in place in eleven counties on Friday as heavy snow blanketed the area.
New York State Twitter account buried photo of a yardstick 19 inch snow Shortly before sunrise in South Cheektowaga, west of Buffalo. “Keep staying off the roads and stay safe,” the tweet read.
Weather Channel meteorologist and storm chaser Jim Cantor, who was in the buffalo area On Friday, tweeted a benchmark photo showing 32 inches of snow “and counting” for nearby Hamburg, New York.
“Whether the city of Buffalo gets 4 feet or not is irrelevant,” the famed weather forecaster told Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Thursday. “You’re about to get some. I mean, Arie is about to get crushed, as we know it.”
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The storm was blamed for two of the deaths, Poloncarz said, tweeting, “They were associated with exertion-related cardiovascular events while shoveling/blowing snow.”
The severity of storms varies widely due to the peculiarity of lake-effect storms, which are caused by cold winds that pick up moisture from warm lakes and drop snow in narrow bands.
Residents in parts of Buffalo spent Friday battered by high wind, heavy snow, occasional bouts of thunder, while a few miles to the north, only a few inches fell and patches of blue sky.
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Snow was falling at a rate of 5 inches per hour in the heaviest part of the snow band in southern Buffalo on Friday, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker.
The heaviest snowfall occurred south of the city. The National Weather Service reported one-day totals of 3 feet in several locations along the eastern end of Lake Erie, including 66 inches in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, 48 inches in Elma and more than 3 feet in Hamburg . , where rescuers were called to help a resident whose house had caved in under the weight.
At Buffalo Niagara International Airport, where flights to and from were canceled, the NWS saw 13 inches of snow Friday morning.
The NWS reported that a trained weather spotter measured 48 inches of snow Friday afternoon about 9 miles south of Buffalo.
Thunderstorms hit Buffalo as lake effect snow warnings are issued
Thundersnow, which occurs when thunderstorms drop snow instead of rain, was recorded over several hours Thursday night in Buffalo, according to the National Weather Service. The NWS said thunderstorms will continue through Friday.
Heavy, wet snow downed trees and isolated power cut in the Buffalo area, Polonkarz said.
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Meanwhile, a lake-effect snow warning remained in effect for Friday in Erie County.
Walker told USA TODAY, “The biggest problem with lake-effect snow is that it builds up on roofs and can cause them to collapse under the weight of the snow, not to mention power outages. “
Jarkowski said the warning was expected to change to a winter storm watch for southern Erie County by Saturday.
“When the snow band drifts up to Niagara County on Saturday, it will move back south on Saturday night, so when it comes down, there is potential for as much as 9 inches (of snow),” Jurkowski said.
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Buffalo travel ban in force for some areas amid ‘treacherous’ driving conditions
Erie County issued a travel ban for non-emergency vehicles on Thursday. On Friday, it was downgraded to a travel advisory for Buffalo, although restrictions remained in place for other parts of the countyPoloncarz said.
Jarkowski told USA Today, “The roads are slick and covered with snow, and there is zero visibility in this band.”
“There are winds that are helping to blow around, limiting visibility,” said Jarkowski, who called the current Buffalo-area driving conditions “treacherous and terrible.”
Several roads were closed, including parts of the New York State Thruway. unsafe conditions, Reported by Hamburg District in Erie County drivers are stuck Several plowmen worked to clear snow on “very dangerous” roads.
Association spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey said that as of Friday afternoon, AAA tow truckers were having trouble reaching dozens of stranded drivers who had violated travel restrictions and advisories.
“AAA crews were trying to reach people who called in saying they were broken down or stranded or went off the road in their vehicle. … A lot of our tow truck drivers kept calling saying ‘the police turned me away,'” she said. In some cases, tow trucks followed behind listed payloaders to clear the way. AAA went to the police with the locations of other drivers .
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Snow forecast for Buffalo this weekend
Walker said lake-effect snow and severe thunderstorms are expected to continue through Friday night and late into Saturday.
“There may be some shifting of these bands, so it won’t be the same places that get it all the time, but it looks like there will be some bands of ice coming off the lake tomorrow into Sunday,” Walker said.
Snowfall amounts were forecast to reach 4 feet, according to the NWS. “We’re still on track for that,” Jurkowski said.
Contributing: Victoria E. Freel, Democrat and Chronicle; Doyle Rice, USA Today; The Associated Press