BUFFALO, New York — Piles of snow, in some places taller than most people, buried western and northern New York as a lake-effect storm pounded areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for the third straight day Saturday, with the possibility of even more to come.
Snow totals of up to 77 inches (196 centimeters) were reported in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Partway across the country, the town of Natural Bridge, near the Fort Drum Army base, reported about 6 feet (1.8 meters).
The snowfall in some places ranked among the highest ever recorded in the region, rivaling the eye-popping amounts that fell during similar storms in 2014 and 1945.
The amount of snow, which began to accumulate Thursday night in some places, “will be on a historic order not only for any time of the year but for any part of the country,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira, at the NWS headquarters in College. Park, Maryland.
Lake effect storms, caused by cold air taking moisture from warmer lakes, created a narrow band of windblown snow that dumped feet of snow in several communities, while leaving the city a short drive away relatively unscathed.
It wreaked havoc on several roadways, as trucks that took to small backroads to prevent the closure of a section of an interstate in the area ended in a mass gridlock that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described on social media as “tractor-trailer demo derby day.”
It also ruined the wedding plans of Robert Junge and Maria Szeglowski, who had chosen this day for their wedding after getting engaged exactly one year ago.
where their reception was canceled, rescheduling for next week. The musicians hired for the church ceremony were also unable to attend, along with more than half of the 180 expected guests.
But they were determined, using one of the two limos they rented to get the bride to the church, while Junge drove himself.
“Nothing is going to stop me from marrying him, no matter what,” Junge, 35, of North Tonawanda, New York, told The Associated Press.
On the bright side, he said, the snow “will make for some pretty pictures.”
Snow forced the National Football League to move Sunday’s game between the Bills and Cleveland Browns to Detroit.
Partial sunshine and a break from the snow arrived in some of the hardest-hit areas south of central Buffalo on Saturday as snow bands moved north.
Forecasters predicted a few more inches could fall Saturday night into Sunday, though Pereira said different areas of the region were likely to be hit rather than the amount increasing too much in areas where the heaviest snow had fallen.
Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed about 70 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal in some of the hardest-hit areas.
Poloncarz tweeted that two people in the Buffalo area died “associated with cardiac events related to exertion during shoveling / blowing snow.”
The Lake-effect has also dumped up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow in some communities in Michigan south of Lake Superior and east of Lake Michigan.
A snowplow driver in the town of Hamlet, Indiana, was killed Friday when his plow slid off the pavement and rolled over, according to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. The hamlet is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Lake Michigan.
Buffalo has experience with dramatic lake effect snowstorms, some worse than the one that hit in November 2014. The epic storm dumped 7 feet (2 meters) of snow on several communities over three days, collapsed roofs and trapped drivers in more than 100 vehicles . on the lakeside stretch of the New York State Thruway.
See also: Weather or Not and Lee Goldberg: Winter Weather Review
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