President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for 11 counties in upstate New York this weekend after an historic “lake effect” blizzard blanketed the area.
“Lake effect” snow is caused by cool air picking up moisture from warmer water and then dropping it in bands of snow blown over the land.
The affected counties included: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wyoming. The snow began falling on Thursday in the areas south of Buffalo.
“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 Monday in a statement. “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.”
The emergency declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security to shake loose funding and coordinate all disaster relief efforts for residents impacted by the storm.
In some parts of Erie County, more than six feet of snow fell, with a whopping 80 inches of the white stuff recorded in Orchard Park, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Bills football team. As much as 76 inches dropped in other areas.
But the record was set in November 2014, when communities south of Buffalo were buried in seven feet of snow in a three-day storm that trapped drivers on a segment of the New York State Thruway, among other problems.