BUFFALO, New York: Just ahead of the busy Thanksgiving holiday week, western New York state was hit by a snowstorm, dropping more than 6 feet of snow.
Over the weekend, local officials restricted road travel and forced airlines to cancel flights in the Buffalo area.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called in 150 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal and assist residents in the hardest-hit areas of Erie County.
At a press conference, Hochul said she would sign a request for a federal emergency declaration to help pay for expenses in responding to the storm.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said most residents stayed home and did not drive, which he believes averted tragedies.
"We have avoided a lot of the incidents and accidents that, unfortunately, have taken lives in the past," he said, as reported by Reuters.
Erie County, which has felt the brunt of the snowfall, received 77 inches of snow in Orchard Park, New York.
More than a month before the start of winter, snow blowing from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario produced the region's first major snowstorm of the season.
Thee National Weather Service said snow conditions could persist through parts of the week.
Nearly 90 auto crashes have been reported and almost 290 people were rescued from roads, Hochul said.
In a tweet, Poloncarz said at least two deaths were reported, both being victims of heart attacks while shoveling snow.
County officials warned the public to stay off roads to ease the work of snow removal crews.