BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Amtrak trains that run through upstate New York will be halted at Albany through Wednesday afternoon, after a snowstorm described as being among the worst in recent memory pounded the Buffalo area.
No Amtrak trains will run west of Albany on the Empire Service, Maple Leaf and Lake Shore Limited lines – all of which run to or through New York City at Penn Station. The Lake Shore Limited line connects New York City to Chicago, while the Maple Leaf Line connects New York City to Toronto.
Service between Albany and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, Toronto and Cleveland will not be available until midday Wednesday, Amtrak said.
No alternate transportation is available.
Amtrak service north, east and south of Albany-Rensselaer continues to operate.
The suspensions came as several feet of lake-effect snow paralyzed the Buffalo area Tuesday, forcing state troopers on snowmobiles to deliver blankets to stranded motorists on the New York State Thruway.
The wicked storm was blamed for four deaths in the Buffalo area, and the snow was not expected to let up until Wednesday – with a second round not too far behind. In the end, up to 90 inches of snow could be on the ground.
The Buffalo area is accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, but this one has been called one of the worst in memory. Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said about 140 vehicles were stuck. Troopers used snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to deliver supplies, state police Capt. Ed Kennedy said.
“Other than wishing they weren’t stuck in traffic, they’re warm and safe in their vehicles,” Kennedy said. Poloncarz was expecting the remaining motorists to be evacuated by nightfall because of plunging temperatures.
The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 6 feet in places. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.
The NWS said the Lake Michigan shoreline could get 6 to 16 inches of snow by Tuesday, while 4 to 18 inches was forecast along Lake Superior.
Parts of Indiana and Ohio also dealt Monday with wintry weather, including snow, power outages, school closings and delays. A chain reaction crash involving more than a dozen vehicles blocked an icy section of Interstate 74 near Indianapolis for a couple of hours.
In New York City, temperatures were in the upper 20s Tuesday morning, with the wind chill in the teens.
Temps were dropping into the low 20s in Midtown on Tuesday night — and in the teens in some suburbs.
The biting cold is expected to hang around into Wednesday.
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