Massive ‘Lake-Effect’ Snowstorm to Blanket Buffalo, NY in Over 4 Feet of Snow

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)

With the latest lake-effect storm dumping up to 33.9 inches of snow around Buffalo, New York, things are not looking good for The Bison City and surrounding areas.

According to FOX Weather, Buffalo may see up to four feet of the white flakes by Sunday (November 20th). Bands of heavy snow off Lake Erie and Ontario have already produced snowfall rates of up to three inches per hour since Thursday evening. As of Friday morning, totals are now up to 12.5 inches in Buffalo. Up to 33.9 inches has already been measured in the Buffalo Southtown of Hamburg. 

The National Weather Service office in Buffalo has seen the weather pattern responsible for the intense lake-effect snow event. It has been compared to the historic November 2014 storm, which was dubbed Snowvember. That storm dropped five feet of flakes. 

Lake-effect Snow Warnings have been issued on the east and northeast sides of Lake Erie and Ontario. This includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls in western New York as well as Watertown in northern New York. New York Governor Kathy Hochul also issued a state of emergency for Buffalo and Watertown areas due to how much snowfall is predicted. Fox Weather noted that as of Thursday evening, all commercial traffic has been banned along a 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) from Rochester, New York, to the Pennsylvania border.

The heaviest snow is expected to hit Buffalo and Watertown from Friday through Saturday morning. FOX Weather Winter Storm Specialist, Tom Niziol spoke about the hazards. “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.”

The Buffalo Bills even relocated their Sunday game against the Cleveland Browns.

‘Thundersnow’ Has Been Observed During the Latest Storm in Buffalo 

Meanwhile, FOX Weather reports that thundersnow has been observed in the heaviest snow bands. This weather phenomenon will be a threat through Friday night. 

However, on Saturday afternoon, the Buffalo metro area may get a break from the heaviest snow as the Lake Erie band will weather and shift north from the city. Watertown will also receive a break Saturday afternoon. This is due to the Lake Ontario band will go north of that metro area. But both snow bands will return on Saturday evening. Both will produce snowfall rates of two to three inches per hour. 

On Sunday, both bands will settle to the south of Buffalo and Watertown during the day. An additional 6 to 12 inches of snowfall is predicted by Sunday evening in areas south of both cities. Snow showers will linger into Monday. Niziol went on to add, “These bands may only be 15 miles wide, so take a look at the gradient – the difference in snowfall from the center of Buffalo to about 20 miles on either side of that – it’s like going through two different worlds when you drive through something like this.”