Buffalo snowstorm 2022: Federal disaster declared for 11 New York counties after historic snowfall

Buffalo snowstorm 2022: Federal disaster declared for 11 New York counties after historic snowfall

BUFFALO, New York (WABC) — President Joe Biden has approved a federal emergency declaration for 11 New York counties after historic levels of lake-effect snow buried the region over the weekend.

The storm set a state record for the most snowfall within a 24-hour period, with some parts of Erie County getting more than 6 feet of snow.

According to the National Weather Service, by 1 p.m. Sunday the highest total was recorded in Orchard Park, home to the Buffalo Bills, which saw a jaw-dropping 80 inches of snow.

That was followed by Athol Springs with 76″, Hamburg with 73.7″ and Natural Bridge with 72.3″.

The President’s emergency declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for residents who have been impacted.

The counties covered under the declaration are Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wyoming.

“I thank President Biden for immediately granting our emergency declaration request and for our ongoing strong partnership as well as Senator Schumer for his assistance in securing relief for New Yorkers,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement Monday. “My team and I will continue working around the clock to keep everyone safe, help communities dig out, and secure every last dollar to help rebuild and recover from this unprecedented, record-shattering, historic winter storm.”

Parts of the state finally caught a break Sunday after the storm pounded cities and towns east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Many businesses in the hardest-hit areas remained closed, but highways reopened and travel bans in many areas were lifted, though bands of lake-effect snow were expected to bring up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) by Monday morning in some parts of the state that were largely spared in earlier rounds.

“This has been a historic storm. Without a doubt, this is one for the record books,” Hochul said at a briefing on Sunday.

Snow began falling Thursday in towns south of Buffalo. By Saturday, the National Weather Service recorded 77 inches (196 cm) in Orchard Park and 72 inches in Natural Bridge, a hamlet near Watertown off the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

Hochul said teams were checking on residents of mobile home parks in areas that got enough snow to potentially crumple roofs.

Due to the heavy snowfall, the Sunday football game between the Buffalo Bills’ and Cleveland Browns was moved to Detroit.

New York is no stranger to dramatic lake-effect snow, which is caused by cool air picking up moisture from the warmer water, then releasing it in bands of windblown snow over land.

This month’s storm is at least the worst in the state since November 2014, when some communities south of Buffalo were hit with 7 feet (2 meters) of snow over the course of three days, collapsing roofs and trapping drivers on a stretch of the New York State Thruway.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO WATCH: Weather Or Not with Lee Goldberg: Winter Weather Outlook

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