If the predictions of savage weather are accurate, Western New York could be buried under 4 feet of snow over the next few days.
The forecasts were enough to scare the NFL into moving Sunday’s Buffalo Bills home game against the Cleveland Browns to Ford Field in Detroit.
“Due to public safety concerns and out of an abundance of caution in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Cleveland Browns-Buffalo Bills game will be moved to Ford Field in Detroit at 1 p.m. ET,” the league said in an announcement Thursday.
“The decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, was done in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm,” it said.
The newest HRRR model run has 70 inches of snow falling in less than 24 hours just south of Buffalo, NY.
This is shaping up to be potentially one of the most extreme snowstorms in US history. pic.twitter.com/PDP0bA4pzc
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) November 17, 2022
The NFL said it was the first time a Bills game has been moved because of weather since 2014, when Buffalo played the New York Jets at Ford Field.
The Weather Channel said Buffalo would not be alone in facing serious snowfall.
“Snowfall totals in multiple feet are expected in the Buffalo metro area, as well as along parts of the Interstate 81 corridor of upstate New York and the Tug Hill Plateau from this multi-day pummeling. Locally up to 4 feet of snow could fall in portions of the Buffalo metro area,” it said. The I-81 corridor runs through Syracuse.
“At least 6 inches of additional lake-effect snow is also likely along the I-90 corridor in northwest Pennsylvania, over much of western Lower Michigan and the Lake Superior snowbelts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and far northern Wisconsin,” The Weather Channel predicted.
One last gasp of lake effect snow is pushing east across northwest PA late this afternoon on its way to western NY, where it will set-up into tonight. Check out the view from Erie, PA shortly after 4 PM. Use caution if you must travel through this lake effect snow. #PAwx https://t.co/saKGWWpSDd
— NWS Cleveland (@NWSCLE) November 17, 2022
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency in 11 counties in the state on Thursday, saying in a statement Thursday, “We all have to do our part to make sure that everyone stays safe during this winter storm.”
“What we’re talking about is a major, major storm. This is considered an extreme event, an extreme weather event. That means it’s dangerous; it also means it’s life-threatening,” the Democrat said, according to the New York Post.
A 130-mile section of the New York State Thruway in Western New York has been closed to commercial traffic in anticipation of the storm, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
A phenomenon called thundersnow could slam the region. It takes place when the warm air from Lake Erie collides with cold weather from the clouds, leading to thunder and lightning amid the flakes.
“When that happens, you get a lot of converging air at the surface and a lot of rising air in very narrow bands that cause very localized amounts of snow to kind of just dump out,” Fox Weather meteorologist Geoff Bansen said, according to the Post.
“You don’t typically see a lot of light snow with events of this magnitude; most of the snow is moderate to heavy, and it’s just a matter of where those moderate bands set up,” he said. “It could be whiteout conditions at point A, and then you go point B five miles up the road, it could be nothing.”
I knew my eyes weren’t deceiving me! I just caught some #lightning on the Oswego, #NewYork livecam where the area is under a #LakeEffectSnowWarning. 🌨️🌩️#ThunderSnow #nywx #snow pic.twitter.com/lscQCHtDRD
— BirdingPeepWx (@BirdingPeepWx) November 17, 2022
The National Weather Service’s alerts have said the storm could be “crippling” and “paralyzing.”
Those words are used “very rarely,” Liz Jurkowski, a meteorologist in the Buffalo office, said, according to The New York Times. “We usually don’t pull these terms out except for historic events.”
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