‘Visibility will drop to near zero’ in parts of New York state getting hammered with snow

Parts of New York state are getting walloped by a snowstorm that could shut down roads and paralyze cities for days.

“This event will have the very real potential to produce a paralyzing snowfall that could be measured in feet for the Buffalo and Watertown metro areas,” the National Weather Service in Buffalo said Thursday.

The ferocious snowstorm started Wednesday and is expected to cause treacherous road conditions at least through the end of this week.

“Visibility will drop to near zero at times and roadways will be covered with snow making travel hazardous to nearly impossible,” the National Weather Service said.

By Wednesday night, the storm had already dumped 10 inches of snow on South Wales, about 25 miles southeast of Buffalo. The nearby town of Colden got hit with more than 8 inches of snow, the weather service said.

And the worst is yet to come.

The heaviest snow is expected to start Thursday evening and last through Friday, with bouts of intense snow over the weekend, the weather service said.

“This is going to be a very long lasting and major lake-effect snow event east of Lake Eerie and Lake Ontario,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock told CNN.

Areas downwind of lakes Erie and Ontario could get hit with not just snowfall, but also thunder and lightning.

And several feet of snow are forecast for the Buffalo and Watertown areas of New York and northwest Pennsylvania Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The snow could fall at a rate of 3 inches per hour in some places, with snow piling up to to 4 feet in some areas.

‘Do not underestimate this storm’

Commercial traffic will be banned on about 130 miles of the New York State Thruway (I-90) in the Rochester and Buffalo area to the Pennsylvania border starting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said.

The state’s head of emergency services urged residents to take precautions — and care of one another.

“Do not underestimate this storm,” said Jackie Bray, commissioner for New York state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

“We should all check on our neighbors, particularly vulnerable neighbors, to help them prepare for winter weather in the forecast.”

State of emergency expected

The governor said she plans to issue a state of emergency Thursday.

“My team and I are deploying emergency response assets ahead of the storm, remain in constant contact with local officials, and are laser focused on the forecast,” Hochul said in a news release.

“New Yorkers should remain vigilant ahead of the storm and avoid any unnecessary travel during these hazardous conditions.”


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