Buffalo, New York – Lake effect snow has come early to parts of Western New York, especially in Buffalo, New York and its suburbs. Lake effect snow has been falling since nearly 12:00 p.m. and has continued since, heavy at times with thunder and lightning. Forcasters are calling the event "unprecedented." and a driving ban has been issued for Tonawanda, New York until 6:00 a.m. according to Tonawanda Mayor, Ron Pilozi. A no driving advisory has been issued for the City of Buffalo, and Amherst. The Buffalo Niagra International Airport had to close for at least 2 hours.
Dozens of trees have snapped in half as the snow started to fall around the city. Many trees, which still have their leaves, have broke into pieces as the heavy wet snow began to pile up, as much as an inch an hour. Early on Thursday, the airport had received nearly 6 inches of snow and climbing. The city could see at least 12 inches of snow by early Friday.
According to the NOAA, at least 155,000 people in Buffalo and surrounding suburbs have lost power and forcasters at the NOAA are warning people "not to go outside in an area where heavy snow has fallen unless absolutely necessary." Power may not be restored to the affected areas until at Saturday or Sunday, but the extent of the damage is not yet known.
"This is extremely heavy snow and most of the trees still have most of their leaves ... we can't do a complete damage assessment until the snow stops falling," said spokesman for Niagra Mohawk, Westerns New York's area power company, Steve Brady.
"At 8p.m., utility companies were reporting over 50,000 customers without power. The reason for the widespread power outages has been the combination of very heavy water laden snow accumulating on the trees that still have most of their leaves. Tree's limbs break under the weight of the snow and bring down power lines as they fall," said a statement on the NOAA's website.
Areas could see 6 inches of snow or more. A lake effect snow warning remains in place until 6 a.m. Friday morning. Snow is expected to fall through the night. This is the third snowiest day in 137 years in the City of Buffalo.
"[This is the] third snowiest day in 137 years [of weather records]. Six inches of snow occurred on October 13, 1909 and again on October 31, 1917," added the NOAA weather statement.
The lake effect snow will continue throughout the night and line up mainly across the extreme northern portion of Erie County as well as the southern half of Niagra County. The band will also affect Orleans and Genesee counties," continued the statement.
"Heavy lake snow extending from Lake Erie across the Buffalo metropolitan area to Alden, New York and Batavia, New York will remain in place through about 1:00 a.m.. The Snow will temporarily remain out of Niagra and much of Orleans counties during this time. The snow band will then start to move north after 1:00 a.m.," said a statement which was issued at 11:23 p.m..
Buffalo Public Schools will not be in session for Friday October 13.