Historic lake-effect snowstorm creates whiteout conditions in western New York

Now, surpassing 5 feet in areas near Buffalo the enormous lake-effect snowstorm is producing a winter weather bingo from snow squalls to thundersnow.

The historic snow piling up in western and northern New York is something you have to see to believe. 

With snow totals surpassing 4 feet in areas near Buffalo, the enormous lake-effect snowstorm is producing a winter weather bingo from snow squalls to thundersnow. 

A long-duration lake-effect snowstorm is well underway Friday, where some places will surpass the 4-foot mark and see the snow pile up through the weekend.

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Bands of heavy snow off lakes Erie and Ontario have been producing snowfall rates up to 3 inches per hour since Thursday night, vaulting storm totals in the city of Buffalo to 12.9 inches as of Friday afternoon, with considerably higher totals to the south, and the event is far from over. 

A snow squall from Lake Erie photographed by a FOX Weather watcher looked like something white walkers emerge from in "Game of Thrones." 

The squall could be seen engulfing a highway in a whiteout, which, thankfully, had no traffic due to the state of emergency declared by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Another snow squall was photographed rolling toward Buffalo Harbour producing whiteout conditions at the state park.

A Lake Effect Snow Warning issued by the National Weather Service in Buffalo is in effect for Chautauqua County, New York until early Saturday.

It was good that the NFL made the call to move the Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns game to Detroit because the players would quickly lose the football at Highmark stadium. The last time an NFL game was moved due to a snowstorm happened in 2014 when the Bills were set to play the New York Jets.

Nearly 48 inches feet of snow has already fallen at the stadium created by the significant lake-effect snowstorm.

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Photos shared by the Bills clearly show the goal posts, but everything else is buried in snow. 

Earlier Friday, drone video captured views of thundersnow in the heaviest snow bands over Buffalo blowing off Lake Erie. 

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Drivers in Hamburg, New York, were attempting to shovel a path for their trucks and tractor-trailers stuck in the snow, but the fresh powder was not letting up Friday afternoon. 

The most significant impacts of the snowstorm are yet to come, with more lake-effect snow on Saturday. 

"We think we're in for a really long weekend," Oswego, New York Mayor Billy Barlow told FOX Weather.

Barlow said Upstate New York is known as "snow country" for a reason. 

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"We know how to handle the snow and how to deal with storms of this size, although this is a little early in the year for us," Barlow said.

Oswego snow plows were pulled out of the garage a little early and crews were on the road Thursday preparing for the storm. 

In the Buffalo area, snow plows were dispatched to work day and night to clear roads.

Travel bans were put into place in some areas. However, some drivers attempted to venture into the elements, eventually becoming stuck and needing to be pulled out of the snow.

The whiteout conditions with snowfall rates of 6 inches an hour were reported in Erie County, the home of the city of Buffalo.

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As the historic snowfall blanketed the western and northern parts of the Empire State, many residents in the town of West Seneca found their cars nearly disappear under feet of snow.

"It hit us out of nowhere," said Luis Cruz, who was visiting the U.S. from Canada.

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