‘Thundersnow’ already walloping Buffalo with 3-inch-per-hour accumulation

Buffalo was walloped by 3-inch-per-hour snowfall rates and even “thundersnow” on Thursday night as a historic lake-effect storm system bore down on the region.

By 10 p.m., 6 inches of snow had already blanked Buffalo, according to the National Weather Service, and by the time the storm system winds down over the weekend the city is expected to be buried under several feet.

A video from Buffalo shared by stormchaser Mark Robinson just before 9 p.m. Thursday shows flashes of lightning followed by thunder as strong winds whip the falling snow.

“It’s going to be a long-lived event, probably 36 hours of moderate to heavy snows across a population of over a million people, so it is a big event by all means,” FOX Weather Winter Storm Specialist Tom Niziol said

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The worst conditions are expected over two periods: Thursday night into Friday and then Saturday into Saturday night.

The NWS reported that six inches had fallen in Buffalo by 10 p.m. Thursday.
NWSBUFFALO/Twitter

Nearly 200 miles east of Buffalo, over 24 inches of snow was already recorded in Williamstown in Oswego County by 10 p.m. Friday, the NWS reported.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency for the 11 counties around her hometown of Buffalo, opening the gates for federal aid if the storm results in a “major disaster.”

Beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, all commercial traffic was banned along a 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway from Rochester, New York, to the Pennsylvania border.

In Erie County, where Buffalo is located, a driving ban has been issued, effective beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced.

Aerial view of snows torm over the Great Lakes
New York has declared a state of emergency, preparing for “paralyzing” conditions.
NWSBUFFALO/Twitter

The storm is expected to “produce near zero visibility,” making travel near impossible and “paralyzing” the hardest hit communities, the NWS said.

The forecast has forced the NFL to move the Buffalo Bills game against the Cleveland Browns from their home field at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park to Detroit’s domed Ford Field on Sunday.

“My administration has been preparing around the clock for this potentially life-threatening weather event, bringing in additional safety personnel and equipment, closing down the New York State Thruway, and activating Emergency Operation Centers,” Hochul said in a statement.

“I urge all New Yorkers to stay prepared and vigilant over the next few days, making sure to look after vulnerable loved ones and neighbors.”