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Plows From L.I. Headed To Buffalo As Western NY Faces Another Wintry Wallop

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Help from Long Island is on its way to Western New York as the region deals with another round of lake-effect snow on top of the nearly 6 feet that's already on the ground in some places.

A contingent of plows and personnel from Suffolk County is headed to Buffalo to help with snow removal, where as much as 5 1/2 feet of snow fell Wednesday. Thursday's snowfall could bring 1 to 3 feet more.

"When we got the call yesterday asking for assistance for Buffalo, my response was immediately, 'absolutely, whatever they need,'" Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said. "We are talking about a storm here that is anywhere from 6 to 9 feet --that is extraordinary."

The most snow the Suffolk crews have worked is 2 1/2 feet, 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported. Richard Carey, the highway crew foreman, said he doesn't know what to expect in Buffalo.

"This, never seen before. It's going to be a learning experience for all of us," he said.

The Long Island convoy is part of a fleet of personnel and equipment assembled by the state in what Gov. Andrew Cuomo called "the largest deployment of its kind ever."

"Literally, thousands of people from across the state coming in to help and hundreds of pieces of equipment," he said Thursday.

Cuomo said 1,275 personnel and 658 pieces of heavy equipment, including plows, loaders, dump trucks and snow blowers, are helping in the effort.

The Suffolk County crew is expected to be in Western New York until at least mid-next week, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported.

Plows From L.I. Headed To Buffalo

"Tremendous progress has been made in clearing vital roads, with help getting here yesterday and more help on the way," Cuomo said. "With that being said, phase two of the storm is on its way and safety continues to be our top priority."

The storm came in so fast and furious over Lake Erie early Tuesday it trapped more than 100 vehicles along a 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway. Officials said the Thruway remains closed Thursday.

Cuomo said all trapped travelers had been removed from their cars, though some truckers were staying with their rigs.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of vehicles stranded all throughout the area, and that is going to be a massive problem," he said.

Travel bans remain in effect in some two dozen municipalities in neighboring Erie and Genesee counties.

"As snow removal efforts continue, we urge people to stay inside and off the roads so that we can get people back to their everyday routines as quickly as possible."

On some roads the snow is too deep for plows to work properly and the National Guard is helping residents dig out.

In Batavia, the streets were quiet with most residents obeying the order to stay off the road.

Suffolk County Sending Plows To Help With Buffalo Snow Removal

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has deployed seven workers, a pair of dump trucks ad 2 payloaders along with a lowboy payloader to Buffalo to aid in the cleanup,

The storm was blamed for up to eight deaths in western New York, at least five of them from heart attacks.

Snow wasn't the only thing falling in the Buffalo area, as CBS2's Alison Harmelin reported roofs have been coming down under the weight of six feet of snow.

"We've seen some significantly large structures already collapse, and that potential still exists," Erie County official, Greg Butcher said.

Erie County officials announced the latest death on Thursday, that of a man in his 60s who was stricken Wednesday while operating a snowblower.

With an additional 2 feet possible on Thursday, the one-week totals for the hardest hit areas will approach the average snowfall for an entire year: 93.6 inches, or close to 8 feet.

It won't stick around, though. With temperatures expected to rise above freezing on Saturday and approach 60 by Monday, flooding is likely to produce the next challenge.

The highest snowfall total for the Buffalo area this time was 65 inches, recorded in Cheektowaga. National Weather Service meteorologist David Church said forecasters haven't determined yet how this storm ranks, but that 60 to 70 inches in 24 hours is probably in the top 5 for the region.

The storms are expected to clear out by Friday, but temperatures are expected to hit nearly 60 degrees over the weekend, causing widespread flooding.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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