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Snow to Keep Falling in Paralyzed Western New York

  • Reuters

Parts of New York are measuring the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, as nearly 3 feet blanketed the Buffalo area, forcing the closure of a 105-mile stretch of the NY state Thruway.

Parts of New York are measuring the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, as nearly 3 feet blanketed the Buffalo area, forcing the closure of a 105-mile stretch of the NY state Thruway.

Snowbound residents of western New York awoke to as much as another foot of accumulation on Thursday with possibly another 30 inches (76 cm) expected, meteorologists said.

At least eight deaths have been blamed on the wintry blast.

Snow and below-freezing temperatures were forecast to continue through midday Friday, the National Weather Service said on its website.

Hoping to clear its snow-filled stadium for a game on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills were offering $10 an hour plus game tickets to people willing to shovel.

The football team said 220,000 tons of snow needed to be removed. A decision on postponing the game would be made by the National Football League, it said on its website.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said holding the game against the New York Jets would be impractical because many roads were either cut off or dangerous.

"If you ask me today, right now, my two cents is it's impractical to have the game because it jeopardizes public safety," he said at a news conference.

As much as a foot dropped overnight in Erie County, which includes the city of Buffalo on Lake Erie, the weather service said.

"An additional 30 inches [76 cm] or more could fall in some locations, on top of the impressive amounts that have fallen already," it wrote on its website.

Roof collapses pose a threat, especially at mobile home parks, said Erie County Deputy Executive Richard Tobe.

"With this heavy snow load now, there are buildings that are in danger," he said.

Tobe advised residents to stay home and "be smart."

"It's a very dangerous storm," he said. "One more day. Let's get through this snow."

The onslaught began on Tuesday when a storm swept off the Great Lakes and deposited as much as five feet. Snow kept falling into Thursday.

Of the eight deaths linked to the weather, most recent was a man in his 60s who suffered a fatal heart ailment as he was using a snowblower, officials said.

Earlier deaths included a man found in his car buried under about 15 feet of snow, someone who died in a traffic accident and people who died from heart problems.

States of emergency are in effect for 10 counties, and driving was banned on many roads. Some 140 miles (225 km) of the New York State Thruway along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were closed.

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