Blizzard Warning continues through Wednesday morning

Jan 7, 2014

Buffalo's blizzard continues to impact parts of the region. A State of Emergency remains in effect for Erie County.

Poor visibility on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the state of emergency he declared Monday night for the County could remain in effect through the end of Tuesday.

Poloncarz tells WBFO News several municipalities - including the Village of Depew, Orchard Park and Hamburg have issued driving bans.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz updating media on Blizzard at emergency services in Cheektowaga.
Credit WBFO News photo by Jerry Urban

"And these are hard bans. That means individuals should not be driving. They could be potentially ticketed by police," said Poloncarz.  "If you drive off the road and get in a ditch, tow truck operators are not going out in these communities because they cannot see."

The white out conditions were so bad overnight said Poloncarz  a couple of the County's Snow plows ended up in ditches.

The blizzard has also forced the cancelation of dozens of flights at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.

A Blizzard Warning remains in effect until 6 a.m Wednesday for northern Erie, Wyoming and Genesee Counties, especially south of Buffalo and Batavia. 

Citizens braves cold temperatures in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Ashley Hirtzel

Blizzard conditions from heavy snow and blowing snow will continue with dangerous wind chills.  It will make travel extremely difficult to near impossible through Tuesday night with snow covered roads and frequent whiteout conditions due to heavy lake snows.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said a band of Lake Effect has been dumping snow on an area from Dunkirk to South Buffalo and east into Lancaster and beyond since Monday night.

"We've had reports of close to a foot of snow already," said Hitchock.  "With all the wind it is pretty difficult to measure snow."

The Blizzard is also accompanied by dangerously cold wind chills of between 20 and 35-below zero

Snowy conditions in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photos by Ashley Hirtzel

"There is still along ways to go in this event and even outside of the main Lake Effect snow band, where ever just a little bit of snow on the ground, these winds gusting to 40-miles-per-hour are producing blizzard conditions," said Hitchock.

A Flash Flood Warning for the Upper Niagara River in Northwestern Erie County and in Southwester Niagara County has been extended until 9:30 Tuesday night.  This includes the city of Niagara Falls and Grand Island.   The Joint River Control center is advising of potential ice jam flooding on the Upper Niagara Rivers a result of high winds and increased ice flows.  An ice jam has formed between the Power Authority Intakes and Cayua Island. 

Minor flooding of low lying areas of the Robert Moses Parkway under the North Grand Island Bridge are occurring and it could worsen. Conditions are unstable and could worsen. If water levels continue to rise flooding is possible on portions of Grand Island and also on Cayua Island in the city of Niagara Falls.

Hundreds of schools were closed Tuesday due to the frigid cold temperatures. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency across Western New York Monday.

"With frigid temperatures and high winds throughout Western and Central New York, I am urging New Yorkers in the area to stay home today.” Governor Cuomo said. “Anyone who must travel should exercise extreme caution. We are closing these roadways as a precaution to ensure the safety of all motorists. I urge New Yorkers to monitor news reports for any updates, and check on their neighbors and loved ones regularly.”

The New York State Thruway in Western New York remains closed due to extreme winter weather conditions.

The New York State Department of Transportation has also closed several roads in Western New York. NY Route 219 is closed in both directions between NY Route 39 in Springville and I-90 in Lackawanna.

Additionally, NY Route 400 is closed in both directions from NY Route 16 in East Aurora to Seneca Street in West Seneca, NY Route 75 is closed in both directions from NY Route 62 to NY Route 249 and NY Route 5 (Buffalo Skyway) is closed in both directions between I-190 and Tifft Street.

Buffalo Police at the foot of the Skyway downtown as it remains closed to traffic.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Tuesday morning State Police are escorting 38 trucks currently stranded at the Angola Service Area, west to the Pennsylvania state line via the Thruway (I-90).