Buffalo was buried by a weekend snowstorm.
Frigid bands of lake-effect snow wreaked havoc on parts of the Great Lakes region and the interior Northeast over the past weekend, burying areas under several feet of snow. The severe conditions prompted travel bans and even led to the postponement of an NFL playoff game. Massive bands of heavy snow formed, creating perilous travel situations. With wind gusts reaching up to 65 mph in places like Buffalo, blowing and drifting snow exacerbated the challenges.
On Sunday, January 14, a travel ban was enforced in a significant portion of western New York due to near-blizzard conditions, where zero visibility made driving perilous. In some areas affected by lake-effect snow, the snowfall rate reached an astonishing 1-3 inches per hour. Buffalo International Airport reported an impressive 3 inches of snow in just 34 minutes on late Wednesday morning, January 17, translating to a snowfall rate exceeding 5 inches per hour. Within a single day, Lackawana, New York, witnessed over 30 inches of snow.
The intense snowfall in Erie County, New York, led to the early-morning declaration of travel bans. County Executive Mark Poloncarz reported road closures in Hamburg, Orchard Park, Lancaster, and other communities, prompting the closure of all county and Buffalo city offices for the day. Unfortunately, three storm-related deaths have been reported in Erie County so far.