BUFFALO — The city of Buffalo, where heavy snow is commonly met with a shrug and a shovel, awoke on Saturday to chest-high drifts left by a lake-effect storm that ran roughshod over roadways. Forecasters promised a continued pummeling overnight.
With streets already caked in ice, bands of snow continued to fall through Western New York on Saturday afternoon. Wind roared through Buffalo’s city corridors, picking up snow and flinging it sideways wherever it chose. And in parts of the region south of the city, snowfall totals crept above six feet, even as the storm shifted north.
County officials said two people had died as a result of the storm. It was also expected to strengthen and return later Saturday, dumping another six inches of snow or more. The snow was on track to break records set by a mammoth storm in 2014 that dropped more than 86 inches of snow in Erie County over a three-day period.
Travel was nearly impossible in the hardest hit areas as the storm threatened to upend plans for Thanksgiving throughout the region.
Alex Mayne, 26, took advantage of a midday respite to try to free his car from a shoulder of Hertel Avenue and visit an elderly family member. Two neighbors arrived to help push — “A very Buffalo thing to do,” Mr. Mayne said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat and Buffalo native, had already declared a state of emergency for 11 counties, including some adjacent to Lake Ontario in the state’s northern borderland with Canada, where the storm was also roaring.
Michael D. Regan contributed reporting.