Heavy snow was coating parts of Northern and Western New York by the Tuesday-morning commute as a lake-effect snowstorm continued to wallop the region, causing hazardous travel conditions and closing schools.

The storm was holding steady, with snowfall rates over one inch per hour, which, combined with winds of about 35 miles per hour, could produce blowing and drifting snow, meteorologists said.

“The lake-effect snow this morning is going pretty strong east of both lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie,” Phillip Pandolfo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, said on Tuesday.

The snow from Lake Erie was expected to intensify through the morning with the heaviest snow staying well south of Buffalo, he said, adding it will wane before shifting north this evening.

The weather around Lake Ontario was creating “pretty impressive” snowfall rates, Mr. Pandolfo said. “It’s a pretty well organized band that we’re looking at on the radar right now.” Eventually, that system is expected to shift south.

Travel across the region on Tuesday is likely to be difficult, with poor visibility. Heavy snow was already covering roads, creating treacherous conditions for the morning commute. As of early Tuesday, more than three million people from the far eastern tip of Ohio through parts of northern and western New York were under a lake effect snow warning.

On Monday, the heaviest snow was falling just south of Buffalo, said Joe Wegman, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service. The storm was expected to continue through early Wednesday morning. People in the region should avoid “all travel,” he said, to allow “the plows to get out and do their jobs.”

Videos posted to social media appeared to show extremely poor visibility and traffic at a standstill in the Buffalo region. The New York State Thruway Authority was reporting crashes, disabled vehicles and delays on the Interstate 90, which runs east to west across the state. The AAA said on X that service may be slowed because of the heavy snow and slick roads.

The worst conditions were expected on Tuesday with the heaviest snow falling in higher terrains through the afternoon.

“The greatest accumulations will remain south of Watertown and across the Tug Hill Plateau,” which is east of Lake Ontario, forecasters said. “Areas outside of the lake effect will largely see nothing more than a passing snow shower at times.”

The National Weather Service said a lake-effect snow warning would be in effect for Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego Counties until 7 a.m. Wednesday.

A warning was in effect for northern Oneida and Onondaga Counties, including Syracuse, through 7 a.m. Wednesday, with accumulations up to 14 inches.

Warnings were also posted in Western New York, for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming and southern Erie Counties, with six to 12 inches of snow likely. The storm was also expected to affect parts of Hamilton and northern Herkimer Counties.

Numerous school districts in the region were either closed or operating on a two-hour delay as of Tuesday morning.

Forecasters said Buffalo, which was paralyzed by a lake-effect snow event right before Christmas last year, is likely to be spared.

The Weather Service in Boston said Tuesday that snow could drift to southern New England in the form of quick-hitting snow showers. Similar forecasts were also issued for parts of Maine and Vermont.

Lake-effect snowstorms come when the Great Lakes are warm and have not yet frozen over for the season, and a strong wind blows across them. Narrow bands of snow can then quickly pile up, making travel especially treacherous, even in a region where residents are accustomed to severe winter weather.

On Monday morning, shoppers were flocking to the Lowville Farmers Co-Op in Lowville, N.Y., about an hour north of Rome, N.Y., in preparation for the storm, said the store’s comptroller, Jennifer Garcia.

She said residents pay closer attention when the forecast calls for lake-effect snow because it is hard to predict where it will be most intense.

She recalled that during one such event last year, workers coming from within a few miles of the store found themselves either smothered with snow or having none at all, depending entirely on which direction they were coming from.

“You just don’t know how those bands will set,” she said.

Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.

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