• Parts of western New York are blanketed in feet of snow.
  • Residents are being asked to stay home.
  • Thousands are without power in the Buffalo area.

M​ore than 3 feet of snow has been recorded in western New York, airlines are waiving change fees at some airports, and schools and businesses are closed as parts of the upper Great Lakes get hammered by winter weather today.

H​ere’s what’s happening in New York State, where the worst of the impacts are right now.

(​3:33 p.m. ET) Two Dead After Clearing Snow

“Unfortunately, we must report the passing of two Erie County residents – associated with cardiac events related to exertion during shoveling/snow blowing,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted a few minutes ago. “We send our deepest sympathies and remind all that this snow is very heavy and dangerous.”

P​oloncarz also reported that a building had partially collapsed in Hamburg due to the heavy weight of the snow.

(1​:54 p.m. ET) Commercial Traffic Banned

N​ew York State Police troopers are enforcing a ban on commercial traffic on parts of the NYS Thruway. Trucks and other commercial vehicles are currently not allowed on the thruway from Exit 46 to the Pennsylvania state line.

(​1:31 p.m. ET) Residents Asked To Stay Home

“Snow is still coming down and creating dangerous road conditions in parts of Western New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an early afternoon update. “Please stay home and avoid unnecessary travel so they can continue to do their jobs.

(​1:12 p.m. ET) Airlines Offer Travel Flexibility

S​outhwest Airlines is waiving change fees for flights between now and Sunday through Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Delta has a similar offer. American is waiving change fees for those same airports as well as Albany, New York, and Burlington, Vermont.

M​ore than half of all flights to or from Buffalo Niagara International Airport today have been canceled, according to airline tracker FlightAware.

(​1:05 p.m. ET) Thousands Without Power

A​bout 4,000 of the 155,000 New York Power and Gas Company customers in Erie County are without electricity.

That’s down from a total of about 7,500 outages statewide a short time ago.

(​12:41 p.m. ET) Highest Snow Totals So Far

T​he National Weather Service is reporting at least 37 inches of snow in Hamburg, which is in Erie County near Buffalo. Thirty-six inches was recorded in nearby Orchard Park and more than 24 inches in Wales, also in Erie County.

“If this band doesn’t move north anytime soon, we may be talking 4 to 5 feet in some of these areas,” weather.com senior meteorologist Chris Dolce said.

R​ead the latest forecast here.

(​12:30 p.m. ET) Resident Describes Scene in Hamburg, New York

H​amburg resident Diane Ward Bartelo has lived through several major snowstorms in Buffalo, including the blizzard of ’77

“​This one is right up there,” Bartelo told weather.com a short while ago.

S​he’s documenting today’s snowfall in photos and video on Twitter, including one that shows a patio table almost completely buried and another that shows snow continuing to pile up on her street.

“Currently it is a whiteout and I can hardly see the house across the street from me,” she said.

(​11:00 a.m. ET) State Of Emergency In 11 Counties

A​ state of emergency was issued for 11 counties on Thursday, ahead of the storm.

T​hose counties are: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wyoming.

“This is considered an extreme event, an extreme weather event,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Thursday update. “That means it’s dangerous. It also means it’s life-threatening.”

Cars covered in snow are seen downtown Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Cars covered in snow are seen downtown Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

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