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Snow continues to batter western New York as the Buffalo metro digs up to 6 feet of accumulation

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Snow continues to batter western New York as the Buffalo metro digs up to 6 feet of accumulation
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CNN

Heavy snowfall is expected to continue piling up in western New York state through Sunday after a historic storm saw the Buffalo area record record snowfall totaling more than 6 feet in some regions.

Just after 11 p.m. Saturday, Buffalo’s National Weather Service (NWS) issued a special weather statement warning that a band of heavy snow accompanied by winds of up to 30 mph was creating a “snow flurry” in western New York State. The group was moving south from the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, he said.

“This heavy snow band is producing extremely heavy snowfall at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour,” the NWS said. “Use extra caution if you must travel… Rapid changes in visibility and potentially slippery roads can lead to accidents.”

While the Buffalo area is used to dealing with heavy snowfall, this storm is producing “much more than what we usually receive,” Mayor Byron Brown told CNN on Saturday.

Erie County, which includes Buffalo, saw its most snowfall on record in a 24-hour period Saturday, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

Since the snow started falling, two people have died of heart complications related to shoveling and attempting to clear it, he said.

As the heaviest snow slides south of the greater Buffalo area in southern Erie and Chautauqua counties overnight, an additional 6 to 18 inches is possible across the region, especially on higher ground, said CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Stronger winds accompanying an approaching cold front will extend snow bands further inland from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario through Sunday, he said.

Snowfall of more than 6 feet was recorded at two locations, according to the National Weather Service. Orchard Park, where the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play, picked up 77.0 inches in 48 hours, and Natural Bridge, just east of Watertown, picked up 72.3 inches — historic numbers for the region.

The multi-day event made travel in the region difficult, triggering road closures, driving bans and flight cancellations the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Saturday evening, the NWS warned that the latest group would make travel conditions difficult within minutes.

“The intense lake effect snow has returned to the Buffalo office. Visibility is reduced to a few hundred feet and the roads are covered in snow. Stay where you are if you can for the next few hours until this strip of snow passes on its way to the Boston Hills and the South Tier,” NWS Buffalo said.

Nearly 400 citations have been issued to drivers who have been found in violation of area travel bans, Erie County Executive Poloncarz said.

“If you try to enter an area where a travel ban exists, you will meet a friendly New York State neighborhood soldier who will immediately give you a ticket for violating the travel ban,” Poloncarz said. .

Authorities are towing vehicles that are stuck on the side of the road or have been involved in accidents due to people traveling during the snowstorm, he said.

Air travelers aren’t faring much better, with dozens of flights in and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport canceled due to worsening storm conditions, according to the website. ‘airport.

The airport has established a daily snowfall record of 17.2 inches on Saturday, breaking the daily record of 7.6 inches set in 2014, the local weather bureau said.

This month is already Buffalo’s third snowiest November at the airport thanks to the storm, according to the local weather service office.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul touted the state’s storm preparedness on Saturday afternoon and said crews were working tirelessly to manage the situation.

“That’s the effort we’ve brought together: bringing together resources, people, equipment from all over New York State. And because we were so pre-emptive in this strike, we were able to avoid many tragedies,” Hochul said.

She thanked western New Yorkers for closing major freeways, enacting travel bans and staying home before the snow started falling, which helped prevent accidents, protect human life and to ensure roads are safe and unobstructed for emergency services.

Hochul said she was doubling the number of New York National Guard members on the ground in Erie County to monitor residents and help with snow removal.

She also signs a request for federal reimbursement through a Federal Disaster Emergency Declaration.

Winter weather alerts remained in effect for more than 8 million people in six Great Lakes states Saturday evening: Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Brown, Buffalo’s mayor, said the city could return to “some sense of normalcy” by Monday or Tuesday, assuming the worst of the storm passes by Sunday.

“It was a very unpredictable storm with bands of snow moving, back and forth, north to south,” Brown said. “The snow fell very quickly, very wet, very heavy.”

Cnn

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