A tweeted Friday.crippled parts of western and northern New York on Friday, with nearly two feet of snow already on the ground in some places by midmorning and possibly more on the way. Two people died after heart disease related to shoveling or blowing snow, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said
“We extend our deepest condolences and remind everyone that this snow is very heavy and dangerous,” Poloncarz wrote.
The National Weather Service reported more than two feet of snow in many places along the eastern end of Lake Erie. Tires with heavier precipitation brought nearly 34 inches to Hamburg, New York — and the heavy snow caused a building there to partially collapse, Poloncarz tweeted.
The severity of the storm varied widely due to the peculiarities of lake-effect storms, which are caused by frigid winds that suck moisture from the warmer lakes and dump snow in narrow bands. Residents of some parts of Buffalo awoke to blowing, heavy snow, punctuated by occasional thunderstorms, while just a few miles to the north had fallen just inches overnight and patches of blue skies.
Time-lapse video showed lake-effect snow enveloping part of the city Friday morning.
TBEN Buffalo affiliate WIVB-TV said snow was already falling Thursday night at a rate of 3 inches per hour with a possible 5 inches per hour.
Schools were closed. Amtrak stations in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Depew are closed Thursday and remain closed Friday. Numerous flights to and from Buffalo Niagara International Airport have been canceled.
The worst snowfall so far was south of the city.
Even before the snow started to fall, the NFL announced it would move the Buffalo Bills’ Sunday home game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit. In Orchard Park, where the teams play, 2 feet had fallen by mid-morning on Friday.
A car carrying a TV news crew covering the storm got stuck early Friday and had to be pushed out of the snow by spectators, WGRZ reporter Alexandra Rios said on Twitter.
“Our car got stuck after our 4:30a live shot,” Rios tweeted. “Then at one point about 6 people gathered to help us.” She said they told her that the citizens of Buffalo “always come together when someone is in need.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday declared a state of emergency for parts of western New York, including communities along the eastern ends of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Hochul’s state of emergency covers 11 counties, and commercial truck traffic is banned on a stretch of Interstate 90.
Poloncarz issued a driving ban beginning Thursday night, though it was downgraded to an advisory for the city of Buffalo on Friday. The most intense snowfall was expected to continue through Friday night, with more snow on Saturday and Sunday.
The weather service also warned of accumulations of 2 feet or more of snow in northern New York on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, and in parts of northern Michigan through Sunday. Parts of Pennsylvania also saw accumulations of lake-effect snow.
Buffalo has experienced dramatic lake-effect blizzards little worse than the storm that hit in November 2014. That epic storm dumped seven feet of snow on some communities in three days, collapsing roofs and trapping motorists in more than 100 vehicles on a lakeside stretch of the New York State Thruway.