Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Colin Lloyd
Snowfall Reaching 6 Feet In New York Triggers Road Closures And Flight Cancellations Ahead Of Thanksgiving
A historic snowstorm hit western New York state over the weekend leading to more than 6 feet of snow in some parts of the region. The massive snowfall caused road closures, triggering driving bans and canceling flights the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Buffalo area is forecasted to experience another wave of heavy snowfall Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service. Much of the heavy snow bands are expected to fall over Lake Ontario, north of metro Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.
“Even though the band will be moving quickly, it is possible that additional amounts around a half foot or so could occur across the Buffalo metro area,” the National Weather Service said.
In response, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she is doubling the number of on-the-ground New York National Guard members in Erie County to check on residents and assist with snow removal.
“This is the effort we’ve brought together: bringing resources, people, and equipment from all over the state of New York. And because we were so preemptive in this strike, we were able to avert many tragedies,” Hochul said.
Hochul thanked western New Yorkers for shutting down major highways, implementing travel bans, and staying home before the snow started to fall. The response helped prevent accidents, protect the life of citizens, and ensure roads are safe and clear for emergency services.
She is also signing a request for federal reimbursement through a Federal Emergency Disaster Declaration.
Record Snowfall For Buffalo And The Surrounding Area
According to CNN, snowfall totals have reached more than 6 feet in two locations, according to the National Weather Service. Orchard Park, where the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play, recorded 77.0 inches within 48 hours. Natural Bridge, east of Watertown, has picked up 72.3 inches. Both accounts are historic numbers for the area.
As a result of the intense weather, two county residents died from cardiac complications related to shoveling and attempting to clear the ground, said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
“We send our deepest sympathies and remind all that this snow is very heavy and dangerous,” Poloncarz said. “Please continue to avoid shoveling this very heavy, wet snow, and use caution and avoid overexertion if you must shovel today.”
Winter weather alerts remain in effect for over 8 million citizens across six Great Lakes states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Forecasters and officials are sounding the alarm on the life-threatening nature of this snowstorm, which is historic even for the Buffalo region where heavy snow is the norm during winter months.
Travel Bans In The Area
A travel ban is still in place for the city of Buffalo due to the current and impending weather and road conditions, according to the Erie County website.
Dozens of flights arriving and departing from Buffalo Niagara International Airport were canceled as storm conditions worsened, according to the airport’s website.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told CNN on Saturday, while the city is used to heavy snow, this is “much more than we usually get.”
He said the city could return to “some sense of normalcy” by Monday or Tuesday, assuming the worst of the storm would pass by Sunday.
“This has been a very unpredictable storm with the snow bands moving, back and forth, north to south,” Brown said. “The snow has come down very fast, very wet, very heavy.”
The Buffalo region has not seen the likes of such a snowstorm in more than 20 years. The treacherous weather has been making travel miserable for many drivers, despite authorities’ emphasis on staying off the roads.