Much of the area is dealing with over a foot of snow that has been steadily falling over recent days. Once again, many school districts across the region closed Wednesday because of the winter storm.
“Pretty impressive snow fall totals around Western New York,” Meteorologist Jeff Wood of the National Weather Service in Buffalo, N.Y.
The storm left 15 inches of snow at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Parts of Niagara County have seen 18 inches of snow south of the downtown Buffalo area about 10-inches of new snow fell. That snowfall is expected to continue for a portion of Wednesday.
In response to the winter storm, a state of emergency remains in place across New York State, issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul has been stationed at the command center in Cheektowaga at the State Thruway offices where she’s been monitoring the Winter Storm "Stella" and the effects on the Thruway.
WBFO’s Jay Moran spoke with Hochul Wednesday morning about the storm situation.
“We are still continuing the state of emergency situation, probably through the day and I want to also report the tractor trailer ban on the New York State Thruway continues,” stated Hochul “We continue to monitor this, literally by the hour. We believe this is the final stage of the storm.”
Some have been critical of the ban of rigs along the state Thruway. But Hochul defends the decision. She noted Tuesday there were 45 tractor trailer incidences reported and recently three occurred in Western New York before the ban was put into place.
Hochul said the state does not want a jack knifed tractor trailer crash to occur that could potentially strand motorists along the Thruway. The ban remains in effect for the I-90 as well as I-81, I-86/Route 17, I-87 from Albany to the Canadian border and I-88.
"The severe weather has begun to subside in the Mid-Hudson Valley region, allowing us to safely reopen I-84 to travelers," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge New Yorkers to continue to exercise caution and head out only if necessary – many parts of the state remain under storm warnings and it is vital that our first responders and emergency crews can clear the roads effectively and efficiently."
But it appears some truckers are not following the ban. On a span of the I-190 in downtown Buffalo several tractor trailer rigs traveled along the 190.
The Winter Storm Warning is set to expire at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
“The good news is, as we move through the day we should eventually see the snowfall tapper off,” noted Wood. “By around lunch time, it should be coming to an end.”
However, frigid temperatures will continue and there will be blowing and drifting snow.
“It’s certainly going to feel very raw through much of the day. We are going to see those wind chills really stay in the single digits for the good portion of the day. Highs only to top out at 20-degree mark,” Wood remarked.
But there is relief in sight, a warm front is expected to move through the region by Friday and Friday night. By Saturday temperatures could climb into the upper 30’s, maybe even 40. Unfortunately that will be short lived with temperatures dropping to the freezing mark on Sunday.
The City of Niagara Falls has been pounded by this winter storm. Mayor Paul Dyster has extended a travel advisory for the city due to the inclement weather. The advisory says “no unnecessary travel will be permitted until 3 p.m. Wednesday as the Department of Public Works continues their efforts to clear and salt the roadways.”
Also in Niagara Falls, both the Niagara Falls Public Library and the LaSalle Branch will be closed due to the weather and the John A. Duke Senior Center and LaSalle Senior Facility will remain closed Wednesday.
In Genesee County, a bit of improvement, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office lifted an earlier travel advisory Wednesday morning.
In Buffalo, the Board of Education Meeting scheduled for Wednesday will be re-scheduled for next week, the week of March 20th.
The Buffalo Zoo has also announced that due to the snow, it will be closing Wednesday at 1 p.m.