As Snowfall Tops 6 Feet in Western New York, Travel Chaos Ensues Days Before Thanksgiving

By Paul Riegler on 19 November 2022
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A historic mid-November snowstorm is stranding drivers and cancelling dozens of flights Saturday as over 6’ (180 cm) of snow hit some areas and triggered road shutdowns and airport closures just days before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“A Lake effect snow warning remains in effect from 10 p.m. this evening to 1 p.m. EST Sunday,” the National Weather Service said.

The extreme snowfall “will produce near zero visibility, very difficult to impossible travel, damage to infrastructure, and may paralyze the hardest-hit communities,” the Weather Prediction Center, an arm of the National Weather Service,  said Saturday morning.

A preponderance of flights at Buffalo Niagara International Airport– 69% of arrivals on Friday and 57% on Saturday and 61% of departures on Friday and 40% on Saturday –  have been cancelled, with only a handful of flights able to operate, according to the airport’s website.

Thundersnow, a kind of thunderstorm with snow fall rather than rainfall, was reported Thursday night and Friday in Buffalo.

Meanwhile, the heavy, wet snow brought down power lines and trees, leaving hundreds of homes without power.

The storm has already been blamed for the deaths of two people who were stricken with “cardiac events” while attempting to clear snow.

At press time, 11 counties were under a state of emergency as the intense snow pummeled the area.

At least two locations recorded snowfall totals of over 6’, according to the National Weather Service, namely Orchard Park, home to the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, had 77” (195 cm) in the last 48 hours, and Natural Bridge, a hamlet in Jefferson County, saw 72.3”(183 cm), both historic and record figures for the area.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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