The National Weather Service said that the “heavy lake effect” dumping piles of snow in western New York, downwind of the Great Lakes, will wind down on Sunday. Photo courtesy of National Weather Service Buffalo/Twitter
Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The National Weather Service said that the "heavy lake effect" dumping several feet of snow in western New York, downwind of the Great Lakes, will wind down Sunday.
The NWS said in an update after 11 p.m. Saturday that a band of heavy snow would bring a "burst of snow" to western New York for two hours overnight, with winds of up to 30 mph.
"This band of heavy snow is producing extremely heavy snow at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour," the NWS said in its update.
The NWS said that the band of snow was moving south of the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, which have been hit hard by heavy snowfall over the weekend.
In a 2 a.m. update on Sunday, the NWS said that "periods of heavy lake effect snow will wind down downwind of the Great Lakes tonight." Buffalo is no longer under a lake effect warning.
The NWS said that accumulations of 2 to 4 inches of snow are still expected downwind of lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie, while up to a foot and a half of snow is possible with locally higher amounts downwind of Lake Ontario through tonight.
"Gusty winds and bouts of lighting may cause hazardous driving conditions across upstate New York today," the NWS said.
"Heavy snow should taper off by Monday morning when winds are expected to pick up again with the arrival of another low-pressure system over northern/central Ontario."
Mark Poloncarz, the executive of Erie County which includes Buffalo, said in a statement late Saturday that officials are looking for additional tow truck operators to help with car removals.
He added in a statement Sunday morning that the Erie County Department of Public Works is responsible for 1,200 miles of road across the county excluding the cities of Buffalo and Tonawanda and New York State has been assisting the county in digging out from the storm.
"This was a historic storm: More snow fell in a 24-hour period than EVER before in the history of New York State, shattering a record set decades ago in the Adirondack region," Poloncarz said.
"It will take time to get to every road and neighborhood open, but we are making very good progress in cleaning up after this storm."
Poloncarz added that travel bans were lifted for some parts of the county, though bans remained in effect for parts of Buffalo and the city of Lackawanna.
Snowfall totals as high as 77 inches were reported in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, where the NFL's Buffalo Bills play -- prompting a scheduled game Sunday against the Lions to move to Detroit.
"77 inches of snow...taller than almost our whole roster," the Bills said on Twitter.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday said in a statement that she has requested that a federal emergency declaration be declared because of the dayslong snowfall.
"I have spent the past several days here in Western New York working around the clock with my team to coordinate storm preparations with local officials, survey conditions on the ground and deploy resources to keep residents safe, including doubling the number of National Guard members to Western New York," Hochul said.
"This is a historic storm, and I want to thank everyone in storm-impacted areas for their patience and compliance with local travel ordinances."