New York State issued a warning for residents to avoid shoveling snow in the upstate area, which has been pelted by 6-feet of snow, after two people died of heart attacks and a third died when their plow crashed.
As the blizzard continued into Saturday morning, with a further 4 feet predicted to hit by Monday, the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services urged residents to avoid overexerting themselves when shoveling snow.
‘Take it slow!… don’t work to the point of exhaustion,’ the department warned following the deaths of two unidentified Erie County men who suffered heart attacks in separate incidents while trying to shovel the snow away.
The warning was echoed by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who tweeted: ‘Please continue to avoid shoveling this very heavy, wet snow – and use caution and avoid overexertion if you must shovel today.’
The Starke County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that a third person had died on Friday, a snowplow driver from Etna Green, Indiana, whose vehicle slid off the pavement and rolled over, WSBT reports.
The hardest hit cities include those in Erie County, like Buffalo and Hamburg, where the snowfall has been amplified due to the effects of Lake Erie, which also created lightning and thunder.
One Hamburg resident showed off the sheer magnitude of the snowfall when they opened their garage door, revealing snow as high as 6 feet with even larger hills of snow in their front yard.
It follows dramatic video of Highmark Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, which was completely covered in snow amid the blizzard.
After being dumped with 6 feet of snow on Friday, Upstate New York cities near Lake Erie are expected to get another 4 feet by Monday. One Hamburg resident showed off the sheer magnitude of the snowfall when they opened their garage door, revealing snow as high as 6 feet with even larger hills of snow in their front yard (above)
Following the death of two men from heart attacks as they tried shoveling through the snow, NYS officials warned residents to not work themselves ‘to the point of exhaustion’ when they shovel
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz echoed the warning in a tweet Saturday morning (above)
Pictured: Martin Haslinger uses a snowblower outside his home in Buffalo on Saturday morning amid a pause in the blizzard
Hamburg resident Heather Ahmed digs out her car following the historic snowfall in Erie County
Roads remained largely blocked off by snow in Hamburg, which along with Buffalo, saw the worst of the snowfall
A state of emergency remains in effect for counties near Lake Erie, which amplified the storm’s strength
Officials have warned residents to remain inside and avoid shoveling and traveling
Meanwhile, state workers, like Brett Witkowski (above) dug through the snow on Saturday
Pictured: Snow removal crews are busy clearing up roads as more snowfall is predicted in Buffalo and nearby cities
Following their work, parts of the roads were cleared, while others still remained buried in snow
The National Weather Service laid out the forecast for more feet of snow throughout the area
On Saturday morning, the Weather Prediction Center said the extreme snowfall ‘will produce near zero visibility, very difficult to impossible travel, damage to infrastructure, and may paralyze the hardest-hit communities.’
The National Weather Service described it as ‘historic’ for the Upstate New York-area near Lake Erie – which collided with cold blizzard clouds and created electrical charges that burst into lightning and thunder.
With intense snowfall, Erie County officials confirmed the deaths of two men who suffered cardiac arrest while attempting to clear the ground.
‘We send our deepest sympathies and remind all that this snow is very heavy and dangerous,’ County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a statement.
A state of emergency remains in effect in the county, with officials urging residents to stay inside and avoid travel as roads remain closed and the Buffalo International Airport canceled 57 percent of its flights.
‘It’s Saturday. There’s absolutely no reason to be out there today,’ Dan Neaverth Jr., Homeland Security Commissioner for Erie County, said in a statement.
Pictured: A snow covered truck surrounded by mounds of snow on the roads of Hamburg
State and county vehicles are making their way throughout Erie County
Pictured: A police vehicle making rounds amid the high volume of snow which remains covering the roads
As residents contend with about 6 feet of snowfall, officials are warning of another 3 to 4 feet to land by Monday afternoon
Erie County officials told residents to remain indoors on Saturday and not to travel outside
Due to the blizzard, The Buffalo Bills moved their home game against Cleveland on Sunday to Detroit’s Ford Field, which is an indoor venue.
The Bills announced that their Friday practice had been canceled but they would meet virtually instead as the stadium was covered in at least four feet of snow.
‘Due to public safety concerns and out of an abundance of caution in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Cleveland Browns-Buffalo Bills game will be moved to Ford Field in Detroit at 1 p.m. ET,’ the NFL said.
‘The decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, was done in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm.’
The Bills tweeted a weather map on Friday afternoon with the caption ‘brb going outside to shovel’ just a few hours later posting pictures of a snow-covered Highmark Stadium.
Highmark Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, showed off why it was vacated for this week’s scheduled Bills game against the Cleveland Browns in a video posted by the team amid the city’s wild thundersnow blizzard
The video, which is just 14 seconds and posted to the team’s Twitter account, simply said: ‘Update: it’s still snowing’
The Buffalo storm air coming off Lake Erie – which still hovers around 52 degrees – collided with cold blizzard clouds and created electrical charges that burst into lightning and thunder
Buffalo was buried by three feet of the white stuff, with the National Weather Service warning that there could be historic levels of up to four feet
Other areas are being affected by the arctic snowstorm, with as much as four feet of snow predicted to fall by Sunday
The National Weather Service has warned that travel will be very difficult to impossible during this time and that hazardous conditions will impact travel.
The storm’s most intense snow is expected to lash the Buffalo area, which has so far seen more than 60 inches of snow, making for a forecast not seen in more than 20 years.
The city’s highest three-day snowfall is 56.1 inches, which occurred in December 2001.
Other areas affected by the storm include parts of the Upper Peninsula and the western Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where gusty winds and heavy snow will also cause near zero visibility and unsafe travel conditions.
Pictured: Greg Mitri helping a local resident dig through the snow during Friday’s blizzard
Many residents took to shoveling through the snow despite warnings. Pictured, Bob Roesca clearing his vehicle
Pictured: A street sign almost completely buried in snow in Hamburg, New York
Trucks with plows attached started emerging on the street following the bitter weather conditions