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Blizzard In Buffalo, Other Upstate Areas Prompts State Of Emergency

Buffalo Snow

A blizzard warning was in effect Tuesday night in Buffalo. (Credit: CBS 2)

BUFFALO (CBSNewYork) — While the Tri-State Area was preparing for extreme cold with lows in the single digits Monday night, some upstate New York areas were poised for a dangerous blizzard on top of it.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday afternoon declared a state of emergency for 14 upstate counties — Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Wayne and Wyoming. The counties are all in Western New York and the state’s Tug Hill Plateau Region.

A blizzard warning has been issued for Erie, Wyoming and Genesee counties until 6 a.m. Wednesday, CBS affiliate WIVB-TV, Buffalo reported. This was the first blizzard warning in Western New York since March 1993.

Cuomo’s office said the blizzard could bring 36 inches of snow in the coming day and a half, with lake effect snows in some areas falling at a rate of 4 inches per hour. Winds could gust up to 40 mph, and wind chill temperatures could drop to minus 40, Cuomo’s office said.

Cuomo also announced Monday that parts of the New York State Thruway in Western New York will be closed due to the extreme weather conditions, and the State Emergency Operations Center will open at 8 p.m. Monday based on the forecast.

The governor advised upstate residents who are affected by the state of emergency to stay home until the worst of the blizzard has passed.

“As this new winter storm develops, bringing heavy snow and high winds, I strongly urge all citizens in these regions to exercise caution, avoid travel, and stay indoors,” Cuomo said in a news release. “To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a state of emergency, so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible.”

State authorities also have shut down several other upstate roads, and have called in 300 New York Army National Guard citizen soldiers and airmen to assist local authorities if needed.

WIVB-TV Meteorologist Todd Santos reported the extreme snow and high winds beginning Monday evening could cause whiteouts making travel hazardous or even nearly impossible. Accumulations might top out at 1 to 3 feet for the most intense part of the snow band just south of Buffalo, Santos reported.

The Western New York count system has been shut down for Tuesday, and garbage collection has been suspended in Buffalo and several other upstate municipalities, WIVB reported.

Back in the New York City and the rest of the Tri-State Area, conditions will be dry Tuesday, but the day will be the coldest since 1994. CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.

The overnight low Monday night into Tuesday was expected to drop to 7 degrees, with wind chills as low as minus 25 or even minus 30 north and west of the city, Quinn reported. On Tuesday, the high for New York City is just 13 degrees, with wind chills still expected in the negative range.

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