Resilience Natural Disasters

Buffalo hunkers down as ‘extreme’ snow storm hits

"I can't stress enough the need for anyone in the path of this dangerous snowstorm to take action to prepare for several days of heavy snow, wind, dangerous travel conditions and the potential for power outages.”

Story at a glance


  • Residents of New York state are preparing for the region’s first major snow storm this season. 

  • The storm has already dumped two feet of snow in some regions and is expected to yield up to four feet in the Buffalo area.

  • Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for 11 counties. 

The Buffalo metro area in New York state is bracing for an “extreme” snow storm today, as the next 48 hours are expected to bring up to four feet of snow across the region. 

Nearly two feet have already fallen in Hamburg, The Buffalo News reports, while Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for 11 counties. 

In anticipation of the storm, a home Buffalo Bills game scheduled for Sunday was relocated to Detroit and major highways have been closed to traffic. Dozens of schools and businesses have also closed, and flights out of Buffalo have been canceled along with Amtrak trains.

“What we’re talking about is a major, major storm,” the governor said during a Thursday news conference. 

“This is considered an extreme event – an extreme weather event. That means it’s dangerous. It also means it’s life-threatening.”


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The storm is expected to bring heavy snowfall, accompanied by high winds and blizzard-like conditions which could lead to more road closures, power outages and property damage. Gusts could reach as high as 35 miles per hour. 

Residents are advised to stay off roads through Friday evening and lake-effect snow warnings have been issued through Sunday for northern Erie and Genesee counties and Niagara County. 

“I can’t stress enough the need for anyone in the path of this dangerous snowstorm to take action to prepare for several days of heavy snow, wind, dangerous travel conditions and the potential for power outages,” said New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray during a briefing. 

“New Yorkers are familiar with this kind of weather, but it’s our first major snowstorm of the season, so let’s please be careful,” Bray added, advising residents to “do your shopping and other errands now before the heavy snow starts falling, if you can, and touch base with friends and neighbors to make sure they are ready for the storm, too.”

Up to five inches of snow per hour is possible in the region, local weather officials report.

New York state officials stressed residents should avoid driving unless necessary, and if they must travel to be sure vehicles contain survival gear like blankets, a shovel and flashlight. Should residents experience a power outage, they should unplug lights and appliances to avoid a circuit overload once power is restored.

When using alternative heat sources during a power outage, make sure the room is properly ventilated and keep a fire extinguisher on hand, officials advise. 

More safety tips can be found here.