Receiving over 6 feet of snow, Buffalo, New York, and surrounding cities were hit by a historic lake-effect snowstorm this weekend, and the Buffalo Bills moved their Sunday game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit.
Excessive snowfall “will result in near-zero visibility, very difficult or impossible travel, damage to infrastructure and could paralyze the most affected communities,” the Weather Forecast Center said on Saturday morning. The National Weather Service (NWS) also updated snowfall totals as of 1:30 p.m., showing Orchard Park, New York, receiving 77 inches from the snow.
Meanwhile, videos posted on social media show the extent of the snowfall, with one video showing snow reaching the top of a stop sign and another showing a wall of snow as someone opens a garage door.
According to the NWS, lake effect snow happens “when cold air, often originating in Canada, moves across the open waters of the Great Lakes.”
“As cold air flows over the unfrozen and relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, heat and moisture are carried to the lowest parts of the atmosphere. The air rises, clouds form and grow into a narrow band that produces 2 to 3 inches of snow an hour or more,” the NWS added.
Buffalo broke its record for the most snow in one day, falling 16.1 inches on Saturday. The previous record was set in 2014 when 7.6 inches fell during the historic and deadly “Snowvember” event, which fell nearly 7 feet of snow, AccuWeather said.
Buffalo was hit by strands of lake-effect snow on Friday, with a “wall” crashing into the city around 11:30 p.m. New York Governor Kathy Hochul reiterated efforts to keep New Yorkers safe Saturday, tweeting that people should stay away from roads to enable rescuers to plow and deliver essential resources to those who need them.
Meanwhile, the National Guard arrived in Lake Erie County on Saturday to help pick up and deliver people who needed dialysis. According to the county’s website, there is still a travel ban in some parts of Erie County.
Hochul issued a state of emergency for western New York ahead of the storm Thursday morning. At a briefing on Saturday, the governor said: “Because we were so preventive in this strike, we were able to prevent many tragedies.”
Travel plans around Thanksgiving could also be disrupted by “a significant storm that will form over the center of the country,” AccuWeather said Saturday, adding that the storm could affect major tourist hubs of Chicago, Atlanta and New York.
“While the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the holiday itself will be characterized by mostly dry conditions in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, conditions could change quickly as holiday shoppers head off in search of bargains next Friday,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.
Newsweek he contacted various meteorologists for comment.
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