A massive early season snowstorm pounded the Buffalo city area in western New York state overnight Tuesday, dumping record snowfalls, trapping people in cars and homes and killing four people, US authorities said.
Even in a city famous for blizzards that roar off Lake Erie shared with Canada, this one stunned Buffalo locals. It even featured the unusual phenomenon of "thundersnow" -- in which snow falls instead of rain during a storm. Another forecaster said he was at a loss of words to describe it.
Many areas south of Buffalo, which is near Niagara Falls, were socked with up to 1.8 meters (six feet) in less than 24 hours. The snowfall was expected to continue.
"Some parts of our county are going to receive a year's worth of snowfall in three days," Erie county executive Mark Poloncarz told local media.
He added that three people died from apparent heart attacks while shoveling snow, and another while pushing a trapped car.