BUFFALO SNOW: The worst of a historic blizzard will hit Western New York


Heavy snowfall A historic storm is battering parts of western New York state that has already shut down traffic on major roads, downed trees, damaged property and threatened to cut power as temperatures plummet.

“Snowfall will create near-zero visibility, make travel impossible, damage infrastructure, and cripple hard-hit communities.” National Weather Service said Thursday. “Extremely cold air will accompany this event, with average temperatures in the low 20s over the weekend.”

Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, had already received three feet of snow by Friday morning.

“I want to be very clear: This is not your typical snowfall in the city of Buffalo or the region,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Friday, as 4 to 5 feet of snow was forecast. “It’s a blizzard that can have dangerous consequences if people don’t do the right thing.”

About 6 million people in the five Great Lakes states from Michigan to New York are under snow warnings Friday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. According to the National Weather Service, lake-effect snow will continue in downwind areas of the Great Lakes through Sunday.

On Friday morning, heavy snow fell off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, bringing snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour to and around Buffalo and Watertown, New York.

The region also gets:

• Commercial traffic is closed on some roads, although some restrictions were replaced by travel advisories Friday morning.

• Flights have been canceled at the Buffalo airport, which has already received more than a foot of snow.

• The NFL moved Sunday’s Bills game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit.

• Parts of Oswego County near Lake Ontario received 2 feet of snow by Thursday evening.

• Hamburg, about 15 miles south of Buffalo, had nearly 34 inches by 8 a.m

• Buffalo Public Schools are closed Friday. So are Erie County services.

• Snowfall of 3 inches or more per hour, with occasional lightning and gusty winds possible for areas east of Lakes and Lake Ontario.

Urging residents to be cautious this weekend, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul described the storm as a “major, major” snowfall event that could be life-threatening. Blizzard of November 2014 It claimed 20 lives in the Buffalo area.

Hochul declared a state of emergency in 11 districts.

“It’s a super heavy storm,” Brown told CNN. “Right now, most of the city is in good shape – South Buffalo is the hardest hit. We expect other parts of the city to be hit hard later.

The mayor urged people to “be vigilant” and stay home, and the city reinstated the travel ban.

“We’re ready to come,” Brown said, praising state, county and city leaders for their cooperation. “We had little time to prepare and plan for this storm.”

Firefighters respond to a vehicle crash on I-290 in Snyder, New York on Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, 130 miles of the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) was closed to commercial traffic in the Rochester and Buffalo area to the Pennsylvania border, Hochul’s office said. Other major interstates, including the 90, 290 and 990, were also closed.

Also, officials in New York’s Erie County – which includes Buffalo – declared a state of emergency and imposed a driving ban starting Thursday night.

“(Storm) lake-effect snow is very heavy and can cause falling tree branches and damage to vehicles, property or power lines. Watch where you park and be aware of your surroundings when outside,” Erie County said. Officials wrote online.

The storm’s most intense snow is expected to hit the Buffalo area, where more than 4 feet could accumulate, making it the worst forecast in more than 20 years. The city’s highest three-day snowfall total was 56.1 inches, which occurred in December 2001, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

In fact, given the rate of snowfall, Buffalo can see a month’s worth of snow in just a few hours. That could make the month the snowiest November since 2000, when a total of 45.6 inches fell in the city for the entire month, Miller added.

Already, residents of Williamstown in Oswego County, near Lake Ontario, saw 24 inches of snow as of Thursday evening. According to Weather Service. In neighboring Oneida County, some places had 14 inches of snow in the 24 hours before Thursday evening. Weather Service.

Vehicles drive through snow in Buffalo, New York.

Friday alone could bring more than 2 feet of snow, Miller says, making it one of the first three snow days on record in Buffalo.

“Heavy lake effect snow from Lake Erie with snowfall rates of 2-3″ per hour will continue to make for a very rough ride this evening east of the Buffalo metro area into Batavia and across Lake Ontario into Oswego County,” the National Weather Service in Buffalo said. said Thursday the night

“An additional 2-3 feet of snow is expected on Lakes Erie and Ontario, while 8-12″ is possible Sunday morning downwind of the other 3 lakes,” it added Friday.

Lake-effect snow occurs when very cold, windy conditions develop over a relatively warm lake — meaning the lake might be 40 degrees, and the wind is zero degrees, Miller explained. The temperature collision creates instability, which allows more extreme winter weather to occur.

Other areas affected by the storm include parts of the Upper Peninsula and western Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where strong winds and heavy snow will cause zero visibility and unsafe travel conditions.

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