A dangerous, “life-threatening” snowstorm has swept through the state of New York off the northeastern coast of the US, burying highways and vital transport routes beneath nearly two feet of snow. On Thursday, schools were closed, train stations were shut down and access to Niagara Falls, just 25 miles north of the city of Buffalo, was discontinued, with similar closures prevailing on Friday. New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency as the state experienced the worst snowstorm in decades.
CBS reporter Tanya Rivero said that Buffalo and its surrounding areas “could get as much as five feet of snow by Sunday”.
She said: “It is the type of blast the area has not seen in over a decade and it has alarmed officials to take certain precautions early.”
As footage showed Buffalo residents navigating the roads on snowmobiles, Ms Rivero reported that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had implemented a driving ban after claiming it was better take action “sooner rather than later”.
The storm’s severity varied widely due to the peculiarities of lake-effect storms, which are caused by frigid winds picking up moisture from the warmer lakes, and dumping snow in narrow bands.
The worst snowfall so far was south of the city.
The National Weather Service reported more than 2 feet of snow in many places along the eastern end of Lake Erie, with bands of heavier precipitation bringing nearly 34 inches (86 cm) in Hamburg, New York.
Numerous flights in and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport were cancelled as the conditions look set to worsen.
A car carrying a TV news crew reporting on the storm had to be pushed out of the snow by onlookers early Friday, WGRZ reporter Alexandra Rios said on Twitter.
“Our car got stuck after our 4:30am live shot,” Ms Rios tweeted. “Then, at one point about 6 people gathered together to help us out.”
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