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Heavy snow, strong winds lead to blizzard conditions across New York

Heavy snow, strong winds lead to blizzard conditions across New York

A 50-mile stretch of Interstate 81 north of Syracuse was closed Monday night and Tuesday morning, as heavy snow and winds gusting to 40 mph made driving hazardous.

The highway was ordered shut down last night when Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for more than a dozen upstate counties.

DOT officials said Tuesday morning there was no estimate on when the highway would reopen.

I-81 cuts through the Tug Hill Plateau region near Lake Ontario’s eastern end. The National Weather Service says the Tug Hill region could get up to 4 feet of snow by the time the storm subsides on Wednesday.

In western New York, roads, highways and schools are closed as a blizzard slamming the region dumps an estimated 15 to 18 inches of snow in some areas with about twice that amount expected before the storm ends.

Meteorologist Bill Hippert of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says winds gusting up to 50 mph are reported along Lake Erie, where he says travel was “difficult if not impossible” Tuesday morning.

A 65-mile stretch of the Thruway from Buffalo to the Pennsylvania border is closed. Travel bans are in effect for much of western New York.

The weather service blizzard warning for the city of Buffalo and surrounding areas is in place until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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