The fierce storm that pounded parts of New York with prodigious snow totals finally relented in the most affected areas Sunday, but it was expected to bring treacherous travel conditions to localities that had been largely spared.
While highways reopened and many travel bans were lifted on some cities and towns east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that had been getting blanketed by the lake-effect snow since Thursday, other regions were due to get several inches of snow by Monday.
At least 3 inches of additional snow was likely to fall along the I-90 corridor in western New York, northwest Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio, Weather.com said, and as much as 6 inches were possible over parts of central New York.
“This has been a historic storm,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing Sunday. “Without a doubt, this is one for the record books.”
Hochul deployed about 70 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal in some of the hardest-hit areas and is seeking a federal disaster declaration for them.
Snowfall totals from the storm, which began Thursday night, were among the highest ever recorded in some areas. The Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, reported 77 inches; the town of Natural Bridge recorded 72.3 inches.
NFL officials on Thursday moved Sunday’s Bills game to Detroit’s Ford Field because of the weather.
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The accumulations “would be on the order of historic not only for any time of year but for any part of the country,” National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira said.
The storm was blamed for at least three deaths and scattered power outages. While clearing snow in Erie County, New York, two people suffered from cardiac events. A snowplow driver was also killed on Friday after his vehicle slid off the road in Hamlet, Indiana due to the lake-effect snow running off of Lake Michigan.
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The lake-effect storm, which was caused by cold air picking up moisture from warmer lakes, created narrow bands of windblown snow that dumped feet of powdery precipitation in some communities, while leaving towns a short drive away relatively untouched.
Snow warnings were in effect Sunday east and southeast of lakes Erie and Ontario in western and upstate New York, northwest Pennsylvania and far northeast Ohio, according to Weather.com. Those warnings include Watertown, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania.
Many schools across the region will also remain closed on Monday due to the lake-effect snow.
Winter weather advisories were posted in areas including western Upper Michigan parts of western New York.
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Buffalo is one of the snowiest larger cities in America – about 95 inches of snow is measured in the city each year on average, according to Weather.com.
In November 2014, the city was hammered with a blockbuster lake-effect snowstorm that dumped 7 feet of snow on some communities over three days, collapsing roofs and trapping motorists in more than 100 vehicles along the New York State Thruway.
Contributing: The Associated Press