A strong lake-effect storm is dumping snow on communities south of Buffalo and wreaking havoc on travel in the region.
A Lake Effect Snow Warning is in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday for Southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties. Three to six inches are generally forecast for Wednesday afternoon, with another four to eight inches expected Wednesday night. The most persistent snows further south could see five to nine inches. Another three to six inches could fall Thursday with an additional four to eight inches Thursday night.
High winds are causing blowing and drifting snow, reducing visibility as low as a quarter-mile at times. Late Wednesday afternoon, a travel advisory was issued for Southern Erie County due to "extremely hazardous" conditions with icy roads and low visibility.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office sent out the following advisory:
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports that poor weather conditions have made travel extremely hazardous in Southern Erie County.
The areas of Erie County that have been hit the hardest so far include the towns that are located south of Route 20A.
High winds combined with a heavy snowfall has resulted in reduced visibility and extremely icy road conditions in these areas. It is strongly advised that travel in these areas be limited to that which is necessary.
The Thruway Westbound was closed from Exit 57 (Hamburg) to Exit 59 (Dunkirk) around 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Eastbound 90 was closed from Exit 59 (Dunkirk) and Exit 58 (Silver Creek). The road reopened around 5:30 p.m.
A travel ban is in effect in the Village of North Collins.
A Lake Effect Snow Warning has been canceled for Northern Erie and Genesee counties. One to three inches are expected Wednesday afternoon with another inch possible at night.