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More Lake Effect For Beleaguered Buffalo

Phillip Osieja

(WXXI News & AP) The heavy lake effect snow that has buried some areas south of Buffalo with up to 6 feet of snow will take a bit a break by midday Wednesday, but the snow machine off Lake Erie is not done yet.

The Lake Effect Snow Warning for parts of the Buffalo area as well as Genesee and Wyoming Counties continues until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. But then, anotherLakeEffect Snow Warning for those areas is in effect from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 1:00 a.m. on Friday with the possibility of up to another 2 feet of snow in areas affected by that second warning.

The Rochester area is expected to just see bitterly cold weather on Wednesday with a high in the 20s and some snow showers.

The huge snow storm in Buffalo kept the New York State Thruway closed as of Wednesday morning from exit 46 in Henrietta all the way to the Pennsylvania state line.

The snowstorm forced motorists in 150 vehicles, including a women's basketball team, to ride out the onslaught in their vehicles. They waited for hours to be freed, with some waiting more than a day. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 members of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.   By early Wednesday, a Thruway official said most but not all passenger vehicles had been cleared.

Members of the Niagara University's women's basketball team were among the lucky ones. Stranded since 1 a.m. Tuesday, team members tweeted photos of a plow starting to clear the road. A few hours later, state troopers picked them up and brought them to a nearby police station where another bus was waiting to take them back to campus, Niagara guard Tiffany Corselli said.    ``It seemed like a nightmare. It just didn't feel like it was going to end,'' Bryce Foreback, 23, of Shicora, Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press by cellphone 20 hours into his wait for help. ``I haven't slept in like 30 hours and I'm just waiting to get out of here.''  

Officials say a fifth death is being attributed to an unrelenting lake-effect snowstorm.  Erie County authorities said Wednesday that a 46-year-old man has been found dead in his vehicle, which was buried in snow in Alden, 24 miles east of Buffalo. On Tuesday, county officials said four people had died, including three from heart attacks and one who was pinned beneath a car he was trying to free from the snow. Two of the heart attack victims were believed to be stricken while shoveling snow. 

The weather also has stopped Amtrak service going west from Albany to Buffalo and also canceled Greyhound and Trailways buses in the Buffalo area.

Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in several counties in the Buffalo area to help speed assistance to that region and the National Guard was mobilized to help out as well.

There are still several schools closed in Genesee and Wyoming Counties (as well as the immediate Buffalo area). You can see the latest list here.


Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.