The snow storm was not only extremely ferocious but intensely localized, as the storm – said to be caused by a "lake effect" – centered on a narrow slice of the city.
The lake effect originates where icy wind meets the comparatively warmer waters of a lake providing energy and picking up water vapor, which freezes and is deposited on the shores. This uplifting can produce narrow but very intense bands of precipitation, which deposits snow at a rate of many inches each hour, often resulting in huge amounts of snowfall.
The lake-effect snow in Buffalo is courtesy of Lake Erie.
Some areas of the Buffalo suburbs were reported to have more than 76 inches of snow since Monday — a record for snowfall over a 24-hour period anywhere in the U.S. ever.
Here’s what it looks like:
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More than 100 miles of the New York State Thruway were closed, trapping a college basketball team on its bus for more than 24 hours.
Team Coach Kendra Faustin, who was traveling with her one-year-old tweeted the predicament as did other team members:
State trooper brought water and granola bars. Took babies and passenger off the bus. Thank you thank you! Hope for us all to be home soon.— Kendra Faustin (@kfaustin) November 19, 2014
According to meteorologists, temperatures in all 50 states dropped to or even below the freezing point on Tuesday. The low temperatures felt more like January than November, they said.
A state of emergency has been declared in South Buffalo, people have been warned off the streets and schools have been closed all the way from Michigan to western New York. Four people have so far died due to the severe weather conditions.
The severe weather is an unwelcome reminder of last year’s polar vortex that brought much of America to a standstill. There have been predictions of things getting chillier than last year and it seems they weren’t too far off the mark.