Incredible footage has emerged showing the advance of an enormous snow storm in the state of New York, which killed at least six people and left motorists stranded on roads overnight.
Shot from One Seneca Tower, the tallest building in Buffalo, the time-lapse vide shows dark, clouds travelling across a nearby Lake Erie and over the city which remains in a state of emergency.
In south Buffalo, the emergency services were using snowmobiles to respond to urgent medical calls and rescue stranded motorists as some 5,000 tons of snow was removed from the area, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for 10 counties, and tasked National Guard troops with helping residents.
While the fierce storm paused on Wednesday morning (local time), another burst of snow is expected to arrive by nightfall – hitting the already-beleaguered city with 3ft (1m) of snow, said Deputy Erie County Executive Richard Tobe.
Five feet of snow is already on the ground in parts of Erie County, which includes the city of Buffalo.
Yesterday’s storm left a shocking amount of snow for a region accustomed to giant snowfalls and frigid winter weather.
“That's a year's worth of snow,” Tobe said, noting a state of emergency remained in effect for the area, where driving was banned on many roads and 140 miles (225 km) of the New York State Thruway along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were closed.
What made the storm even more unusual was how it inundated some areas with snow at a rate of 5 inches (13 cm) per hour, while it only sprinkled a few inches in total just several miles away, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Thomas.
The disparity is known as the lake effect, which occurs when cold air whips up snow clouds over the relatively warm Great Lakes, drawing in moisture and generating localized snowfalls onshore, Thomas explained. The phenomenon can create intense squalls in one area while leaving nearby locations virtually unscathed.
At least six deaths in the area were linked to the storm, said John Greenan, a spokesman for the Erie County Sheriff's Department. In one case, a 46-year-old man was found in his car buried under about 15 feet (4.6 meters) of snow. One person was killed in a traffic accident and three died from heart problems. There were no details about the sixth death.
A 23-year-old man in New Hampshire died in a traffic accident also tied to the storm, state police said.
Additional reporting by APReuse content