Buffalo Blizzard 2022: Lake-effect snow buries Buffalo, New York

BUFFALO, New York — Piles of snow, in some places taller than most people, buried parts of western and northern New York as a lake-effect storm hit areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for a third straight day Saturday, with possibly more to come.

Snowfall totals as high as 77 inches (196 centimeters) were reported in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Halfway across the state, the town of Natural Bridge, near the Fort Drum Army base, reported just under 6 feet (1.8 meters).

The snowfall in some locations was among the highest ever recorded in the area, rivaling the eye-popping amounts that fell during similar storms in 2014 and 1945.

The snowfall totals, which began accumulating Thursday evening in some places, “would be on the order of historic, not just for any time of the year, but for any part of the country,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira, at NWS headquarters in College Park, Maryland.

The lake-effect storm, caused by cold air picking up moisture from warmer lakes, created narrow bands of wind-blown snow that dumped feet of snow in some communities while leaving towns a short drive away relatively unscathed.

It sparked chaos on some roads, as trucks pulling onto minor back roads to avoid a closure on parts of an interstate in the area ended up in a mass gridlock that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described on social media as “tractor-trailer demo derby day.”

It also wreaked havoc on the wedding plans of Robert Junge and Maria Szeglowski, who had chosen this day for their wedding after becoming engaged exactly one year ago.

Your reception venue was canceled and will be rescheduled for next week. The musician they hired for their church ceremony also couldn’t make it, along with more than half of their expected 180 guests.

But they were determined to use one of two limousines they rented to get the bride to the 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 bright side, he said the snow “is going to make for some beautiful 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 the snow came in some of the hardest-hit areas south of downtown Buffalo on Saturday as snow bands shifted north.

Forecasters predicted several more inches could fall from Saturday night into Sunday, though Pereira said different areas of the region were likely to be hit rather than the totals rising too much in the areas where the heaviest snow had already fallen.

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

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

The lake effect has also dumped up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) 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 pavement and overturned, according to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. Hamlet is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Lake Michigan.

Buffalo has experienced dramatic lake-effect snowstorms, few worse than the one that hit in November 2014. The epic storm dumped 7 feet (2 meters) of snow on some communities over three days, collapsed roofs and trapped drivers in more than 100 vehicles on a lakeside stretch of the New York State Thruway.

SEE ALSO: Weather or Not with Lee Goldberg: Winter Weather Outlook


* Download the AccuWeather app

* More AccuWeather

* Follow us on YouTube

* More local news

* Sign up for free newsletters

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

Submit weather photos and videos

Have weather photos or videos to share? Submit to Eyewitness News using this form. Terms of use apply.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment