A dangerous lake-effect blizzard paralyzed parts of western and northern New York, with more than a foot of snow already falling Friday morning in places and driving restrictions to keep people off the roads in the Buffalo area It has been installed.
The worst snowfall was expected in Buffalo, where the National Weather Service said up to 4 feet could fall in some places through Sunday, with periods of near-zero visibility. Other areas may have a foot or less of lake-effect snow, caused by cold air carrying abundant moisture from the warmer lakes.
The weather service received reports of more than a foot of snow on the eastern end of Lake Erie early Friday, ranging from 19.5 inches in Buffalo and 22.5 inches in Hamburg, New York, about 12 miles from Buffalo.
NY Govt. Cathy Hochul declared state of emergency in Buffalo, parts of western New York ahead of snow storm
New York Gov. Cathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Thursday for parts of western New York, including the communities along Lake Erie and the east end of Lake Ontario. Hochul’s state of emergency covers 11 counties, with commercial truck traffic restricted from a section of Interstate 90.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a driving ban through Thursday night, shortly after heavy snow triggered thunder and lightning in Buffalo. Poloncarz said the ban on non-emergency vehicles on roadways was downgraded to an advisory for the city of Buffalo on Friday, but the ban remained in effect in some other parts of the county. The heaviest snowfall was expected till Friday evening, with further falls expected from Saturday to Sunday.
WGRZ reporter Alexandra Rios said on Twitter that a car carrying a TV news crew reporting on the storm got stuck early Friday and had to be pulled out of the snow.
“Our car got stuck after our live shot at 4:30,” Rios tweeted. “Then, at one point about 6 people gathered to help us.” She said they told her that Buffalo residents “always come together when someone is in need.”
Buffalo Braces for Major Snow
Administrators canceled Friday classes for students in Buffalo and throughout the county. Amtrak stations in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and DePue closed on Thursday and will remain closed on Friday, The Buffalo News reported, while several flights in and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport were canceled.
Ahead of the storm, the NFL announced that it would move the Buffalo Bills’ home game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to Detroit.
The switch in sites means the Bills will play back-to-back games in Detroit, as they are scheduled to play the Lions on Thanksgiving.
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The weather service warned of 2 feet or more of snow accumulation on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario in northern New York and parts of northern Michigan through Sunday. Lake-effect snow accumulation was also seen in parts of Pennsylvania.