New Yorkers dig out of record-breaking snowfall

Residents of western and northern New York on Sunday began digging out snowfalls that were among the most intense on record, even as bad weather continued in other parts of the state.

Many towns and cities east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were buried by two powerful lake effect storms in up to 5 feet and in some places 6 feet of snow.

Skies were fairly clear over Buffalo and Watertown on Sunday, but snow and wind held on for residents of Jefferson and Oswego counties and surrounding areas.

“They can pull up 2 to 3 feet in this region today,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock, who lives in Buffalo.

Most travel bans and advisories in parts of New York state were lifted by Sunday.


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Lake effect snow is formed when cold air, often from Canada, flows over the warmer waters of the Great Lakes. As the cold air warms, it rises and forms narrow bands that can produce rapid snowfall.

While most storm bands drop 1 to 3 inches of snow per hour, the rate across New York reached 6 inches per hour at the height of the bad weather, according to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“Without a doubt, this is one for the record books,” Governor Hochul said at a news conference.

Snow began late Thursday in areas around the eastern edges of Lake Ere and Lake Ontario. On Sunday, the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, recorded at least 77 inches. Around Watertown, near Lake Ontario, observers recorded about 72 inches of snow.

The state record for most snowfalls in 24 hours was set in 1966, according to the National Weather Service, when 50 inches fell on Camden. It’s too early to know if that record was broken over the weekend, Mr Hitchcock said.

Most travel bans and advisories in western and northern New York were lifted by Sunday.

Warmer weather is forecast for New York state in the coming week, potentially rising into the 40s for Thanksgiving, Hitchcock said.

write to Ginger Adams Otis at [email protected]

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Appeared in the print edition November 21, 2022 as New York Digs Out From Huge Snowfall.