Residents of western New York got even more snow on Saturday following a massive winter storm hit the region on Friday. It dropped an average of 6 feet in certain areas and the closure of businesses and schools.
The National Weather Service said snow fell in areas of Niagara County at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour in the afternoon on Saturday.
“You can’t go anywhere,” Liz Jurkowski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Buffalo told reporters on Saturday. “Major roads are closed right now because they’re covered with snow. Basically, everyone here is just trying to dig out themselves.”
Jurkowski declared the massive 6-foot snowfall the top three snowfalls recorded in the history of in the Buffalo region. It hasn’t had this amount of snow since the year 2014.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Saturday that this could be the snowiest day over a 24-hour time frame in the history of New York. Hochul said she was deploying 150 National Guard and that she wanted an emergency declaration by the federal government.
At least two people perished due to cardiac arrest during working to shovel snow.
The NWS stated that wind speeds could exceed 36 miles per hour. The agency also issued that a lake-effect snow advisory will be in place through 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, in Northern Erie and Genesee counties warning that travel may become “very difficult to impossible.”
Buffalo set the record for snowfall per day on Saturday morning, amassing 16.1 inches before 9:15 a.m.
The weather bureau reported that certain cities located in Erie County had received more than 5 feet of snow on Friday. Further to the north there were areas in Jefferson County got nearly 50 inches of snow on Friday.
The next day, regions of the state that were east and west of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario reported totals of more than 6 feet.
In Hamburg in the just south of Buffalo emergency workers were unable to reach people on Friday the morning of Friday, WBFO’s Emyle Watkins reported to NPR. Some towns around the region were not affected as severely in the north, with some areas of Buffalo only getting inches of snow.
Crews were working around all hours to remove heavy, wet snow which fell at a much faster pace than usual.
John Pilato, the highway director in the city of Lancaster He stated that he was working to make sure his team of snowmen well-fed and hydrated while they camp on the roads department.
“Bought as much food and grub that we could just to have on hand for these guys. We bought a bunch of K-cups so we could keep them a little bit caffeinated and fueled up,” Pilato explained to Watkins. “It’s hard, it’s very hard. They’re not in their own bed, they’re in a chair, or they’re in a cot.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday declared the state of emergency which encompassed 11 counties within the Western region of the state. This included a variety of travel restrictions for local roads and interstates.
The schools in Buffalo and in Erie County canceled classes Friday and Saturday, as Amtrak closed its stations in the region.
The NFL announced on Thursday that the Buffalo Bills home game scheduled for this Sunday against Cleveland Browns has been moved to Detroit in a move made by the league that “has everything to do about safety,” Bills Executive Vice President Ron Raccuia said to ESPN.
Kyra Laurie university student who ended up stranded in her parents’ house to the south from Buffalo located in Orchard Park that got several feet of snow she said to Watkins she’s had a wonderful vacation with her loved ones however, this storm took her off guard.
“Being from Buffalo, you just assume that you’ll make it, that you can truck through any kind of snowstorm, but I feel like this one’s been really aggressive,” Laurie declared.
The snowfall is the result of the lake effect.
The area is being hammered by the lake-effect snow that occurs when cold air moves over a hot body of waters, absorbing large amounts of moisture and falling it on the land. Near lakes, areas can see snowfall rates of up to 3 inches per hours or greater.
Colin Beier, an associate professor at the SUNY College of Forestry and Environmental Science said to NPR that the differences between air and lake temperatures in the region is the greatest until the beginning of spring.
“It doesn’t surprise me that with that big shift to cold air, you still got a warm lake, if it’s pointed right at a big city like Buffalo or anywhere it’s pointed you’re going to get very a significant amount of snow right now,” Beier stated.