BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBN) — Buffalo and the nearby towns are preparing for a major snow event. This major lake effect snow setup comes exactly eight years after the last major lake effect event in western New York. In November 2014, a very similar setup occurred that resulted in days of extreme snowfall, lasting from Nov. 17-21, 2014.

Snow came down in feet, essentially shutting down parts of the Buffalo metro area for days. Our sister station, WIVB, put out a call for assistance in covering the snow emergency and Storm Team 27 meteorologist Ryan Halicki went up to assist, witnessing the historic snowfall firsthand. He talks about what he saw in both videos posted with this story, at the top and bottom of the page.

Observed snowfall from the November 2014 lake effect snow event in western New York

In just four days in November 2014, some places saw between 4 to nearly 6 feet of snow. Roofs collapsed on hundreds of buildings, people were literally snowed into their homes. Standard cars — even trucks — couldn’t move through the buried streets. Many towns were inaccessible by standard ways of travel, lasting several days. People ran out of food with no way to get out to the store. Dump trucks were used to take the snow away.

Halicki says he had “never seen so much snow before—it was above the roof of our SUV in many areas.”

Interstate 90 was closed for a period of time. Police had it shut down at the New York/Pennsylvania border for a period of time. This was because as you got closer to Buffalo, hundreds of cars were buried on the interstate. The drivers had to be rescued, leaving their cars behind. It took days before all of the vehicles were removed and people could pick them up at holding locations across the region.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t just driveways people were shoveling, but their roofs. People from outside areas came in busses to help people shovel. There were instances of people calling 9-1-1 for help, but responders couldn’t make it to the locations because there was too much snow. The National Guard was also deployed to help get food and necessities to people in areas that hadn’t been cleared.

How much snow will the Buffalo area see this time?

The same areas are looking at intense snowfall with this system between Thursday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. Snowfall is likely to be measured in feet in spots. It is looking like the Buffalo area and south Buffalo areas will have the potential to receive close to the totals that fell in 2014. The highest measured snow total from the 2014 event was 65 inches that fell in South Cheektowaga, New York, just south of the City of Buffalo. Some spots may see similar amounts or totals within 12 inches of that range.

Below is a video update of what data shows for potential accumulation as of Thursday evening, Nov. 17.