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Six Dead as Snow Buries Upstate New York, Great Lakes

Harvey Field
Published:2014-11-19 National
Six Dead as Snow Buries Upstate New York, Great Lakes    Print Snohomish Times    
Six Dead as Snow Buries Upstate New York, Great Lakes

Between 3 and 6 feet of snow and plunging temperatures have left thousands snowed in over upstate New York, and the cold and snow has taken lives.

According to the Associated Press, four people died Tuesday due to the heavy snow. Three of the incidents were caused by cardiac arrest from shoveling snow, while the other one was due to an automobile accident.

Erie County officials confirmed two additional deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to six.

A large lake-effect snow band formed on Monday night over Lake Erie as cold arctic air began sweeping over the relatively warmer Great Lakes. The snow band took aim at southwestern New York and lingered for nearly 24 hours.

Communities along the I-90 corridor in southwestern New York, from Silver Creek to the towns south of Buffalo, have been left in a disabled state, after several feet of snow fell on Tuesday.

The New York Thruway was impossible to traverse as snowplows were unable to keep up with the 3- to 5-inch per hour snowfall rates. To make matters worse, gusty winds accompanied the heavy snow, causing blowing, drifting and white-out conditions at times.

Some motorists caught out in these bands were left stranded on major highways on Tuesday. Plow trucks were even stuck in some communities. The governor of New York declared several counties a state of emergency, allowing National Guard troops to be put on alert and utilized.

At least 5 feet of snow has been measured in some of the towns south of Buffalo. Snowfall amounts in New York state include 65 inches near Cheektowaga, 63 inches at Lancaster, 60 inches at Gardenville, and 57 inches at West Seneca. Much of this snow fell in 24-hours.

However, some of the latest measurements in the region were taken Tuesday evening, prior to the conclusion of the lake-effect snow. Some of the fluffy lake-effect snow may have settled and compacted before it was measured. Locally higher snowfall totals may come about as more information becomes available.

Depending on the investigation of snowfall measurement activities, there is a chance the 24-hour United States snowfall record could fall. That official record belongs to Silver Lake, Colorado, with 76 inches, spanning April 14-15, 1921. A report of snowfall of 77 inches in 24 hours at Montague, New York, was thrown out by officials from January 1997.

Due to the nature of these snow bands, some areas can get pummeled, while others escape the intense snow. For instance, North Tonawanda, New York, has received only 0.5 of an inch of snow while a few miles to the south, several feet fell.

Communities downwind of Lake Ontario across the Tug Hill Plateau have also seen several feet of snow. Parts of Michigan have seen the snow pile up as well.

Another round of lake-effect snow will develop over the region on Thursday and will continue into Friday.




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