New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, saying the storm is "nature showing us who's boss."
In the Buffalo area, the National Weather Service says some of its spotters couldn't get out of their houses to take measurements.
The snow blew in the back door at one home and piled up in the living room. Clearing driveways and cars took patience. In Lancaster, New York, the drifts were taller than the people shoveling.
The storm blew in Tuesday over Lake Erie. 65 inches are on the ground in South Cheektowaga, New York. Another 15 inches may fall by Friday.
Along Interstate 90 in West Seneca, 18 wheels are no match for six feet of snow and counting. Hundreds of vehicles have been abandoned along 132 miles of highway that remains shut down. One trucker told us he's been stranded for two days and is still trying to dig out.
"I'm a pure blood New Yorker, I've been here my whole life," he says. "All the snow in the world never stopped me until now."
Members of the Niagara University women's basketball team were stuck on their bus for nearly 30 hours. Coach Kendra Faustin says they had to ration their food and water.
"We just filled our water bottles that we use during games up with snow, so that it could melt so we could have water in the morning," Faustin says.
Rescue workers brought helpless motorists to a volunteer fire house.
Deangelo Askew and his girlfriend Deshara Lee are glad to be alive after getting stuck while trying to take food to a relative.
"It was cold, the car died and every thing," Askew said.
"I was terrified, I was really scared," Lee said. "I couldn't imagine we'd be trapped out there in the middle of the snow."
Work crews and residents were out in force Wednesday, trying to clear roads and sidewalks before they get hit again by another storm.
In one upstate neighborhood, where snow drifts stood higher than some homes, residents trudged to local stores to try to find needed supplies.
"We had enough to last us a day or so," one resident told us, adding that he didn't expect the storm to be this bad. "No, I think they originally called for 7 to 9 inches. It's definitely been exceeded by a couple feet.
The snow has even blitzed the Buffalo Bills.
The team is offering $10 an hour and free tickets to anyone who'll clear four and a half feet of snow in time for Sunday's game with the Jets. Green Bay Packers fans already shovel for free.
There is record snow in Michigan, as well -- 18 inches in Grand Rapids over the past two days. Drifts top two feet.
The heavy snow is caused by gale force winds and moisture coming off Lake Michigan, where 12 foot waves created a wall of ice.
Nearly ten inches of snow blanketed Grand Rapids Tuesday, beating the previous record of six-and-a-half half inches for November 18. The temperature reached only 19 degrees.
Despite the arctic blast, the city keeps moving. Tom Almonte is with the Grand Rapids city manager's office.
"Many predictions (were) that we're gonna have the same winter as last year or worse, so we start thinking maybe those predictions are going to be accurate," Almonte said.
It was 30 degrees below average in Kalamazoo, hitting only 17 degrees, another record.
As much as a foot of snow is expected to fall by Thursday night in parts of southern Michigan. This is the coldest stretch of November weather the area has experienced in a hundred years.
The arctic air also dipped into the Deep South.
The low was 16 degrees in Charlotte, North Carolina and 17 in Macon, Georgia. A freeze warning is up Wednesday night for the entire state of Georgia