Massive snowfall buries cars and continues to fall in western New York

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Snow piles, in some places taller than most people, buried parts of western and northern New York as a lake-effect storm on Saturday battered a third straight day of areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, with potential to come more.

Snowfall of up to 196 centimeters was reported in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Halfway across the state, the town of Natural Bridge near the Fort Drum military base reported six feet.

Snowfall in some places was among the highest on record in the region, rivaling the staggering amounts that fell during similar storms in 2014 and 1945.

Snowfall totals, which began accumulating in some places Thursday night, “would be in the order of historical values ​​not only for each season but for each part of the country,” National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira told the NWS – Headquarters in College Park, Maryland.

The lake effect storm, caused by cold air picking up moisture from warmer lakes, created narrow bands of windblown snow that shed snow in some communities, while cities just a short drive away remained relatively unscathed.

It wreaked havoc on some streets when trucks, pulling onto minor side roads to avoid closing portions of a freeway in the area, ended up in what Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described on social media as ” Tractor Trailer Demo Derby Day. “

It also messed up the wedding plans of Robert Junge and Maria Szeglowski, who chose this date for their wedding after getting engaged exactly a year ago.

Your reception location has been canceled and rescheduled to next week. The musician they hired for their church wedding couldn’t come either, along with more than half of the 180 guests expected.

But they were determined and used one of two limousines they rented to take the bride to church while Junge drove himself.

“Nothing would stop me from marrying her no matter what,” Junge, 35, of North Tonawanda, New York, told The Associated Press.

On the plus side, he said the snow “will make for some nice pictures.”

The snowfall forced the National Football League to move Sunday’s game between the Bills and the Cleveland Browns to Detroit.

Partial sunshine and a break from snow came in some of the hardest-hit areas south of central Buffalo on Saturday as snow bands shifted north.

Forecasters predicted several inches more could fall from Saturday night through Sunday, although Pereira said other areas in the region would be more likely to be affected than totals in areas where the heaviest snow had already fallen would rise too much.

Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed about 70 National Guard members to help clear snow in some of the hardest-hit areas.

Poloncarz tweeted that two people in the Buffalo area died “related to cardiac events associated with shoveling/snow blowing exertion.”

The lake effect has also dumped up to 2 feet of snow in some Michigan communities south of Lake Superior and east of Lake Michigan.

A snowplow driver in the town of Hamlet, Indiana, was killed Friday when his plow skidded off the sidewalk and rolled over, according to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. Hamlet is approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Lake Michigan.

Buffalo has experienced dramatic lake-effect snowstorms, only a few worse than the one that struck in November 2014. This epic storm dumped 7 feet of snow over three days on some communities, collapsing roofs and trapping drivers in more than 100 vehicles on a lake stretch of the New York State Thruway.


Associated Press correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this story from New York.