Buffalo buried by wall of snow

Massive lake-effect snowstorm hits hard

November 19, 2014

Troopers in all-terrain vehicles and rescue crews working without sleep set out Wednesday to reach drivers trapped in a ferocious winter storm that dumped more than 5 feet of snow outside Buffalo, new York- with plenty more on the way.

A powerful snowstorm swept across western New York, creating snowdrifts as high as houses, trapping people in their homes and forcing hundreds of motorists to abandon their cars on roadways that were quickly buried in the blizzard-like conditions.

Even hardened Buffalo residents were caught off-guard by the early-season storm that is expected to end by Wednesday afternoon. The storm came in so fast and furious it trapped more than 100 vehicles on a 132-mile stretch of the state Thruway in western New York that remained closed Wednesday.

This is only the area’s first snowfall of the winter, but South Buffalo has seen almost as much snow in 24 hours as it experiences in an entire season. About 84 inches is normal, but about six feet, 72 inches, has fallen since Tuesday.

The snowfall is not expected to let up. More snow is expected Wednesday and Thursday, which could set a record high in the history of lake-effect snow events.

Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo said that clearing roads south of the city has been “slow going” and that “there is a long way to go” before the situation was under control.

"If you are in a storm-affected area, stay off the road.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Twitter. “More snow is coming.”

Cuomo declared a state of emergency for 10 counties, and the National Guard was activated to help clean up. The state deployed 526 snowplows and 17 large snow blowers.

It was a lake-effect snowstorm, building up as it swept across Lake Erie, thrashing some places but sparing others. Lancaster, New York, recorded more than 5 feet of snow. Six miles away, the Buffalo airport got less than 4 inches.

The snow pattern was part of a punishing blast of cold air so broad that temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below. Temperatures at Mauna kea on Hawaii’s Big Island dipped to 31 degrees while Florida’s Panhandle was in the upper 20s, with freeze warnings in effect.

In all, 21 deaths have been reported across the country since Saturday.

The cause of this mayhem: Arctic air pouring over the relatively warm

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