The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for sections of upstate New York on Wednesday and officials urged people to stay inside as heavy, wind-driven snow caused whiteout conditions amid subzero windchills.

“Buffalo is a tough city. We’re used to cold weather,” Mayor Byron Brown said during a midday news conference as plows worked to clear the foot of snow that had fallen there since Tuesday. But unless it was necessary to go out, Brown urged, “please stay home.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a state of emergency, along with travel bans in several suburbs as conditions deteriorated in the early afternoon.

Blizzard warnings were in effect through 1 a.m. Thursday in Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties in western New York and Jefferson and Lewis counties in central New York.

Tractor-trailers and commercial buses were banned from the New York State Thruway and other highways in those areas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with state and local officials at a state Department of Transportation facility in suburban Buffalo and said plow crews were being sent from downstate to help out.

With up to 2 feet of snow expected by early Friday accompanied by 40 mph wind gusts and dangerous cold, the conditions “should not be taken lightly,” Cuomo said.

WKBW-TV in Buffalo reported some truckers ignored the tractor-trailer ban on major highways. But others were on board with it.

A blast of wind on the highway could “turn you sideways or flip the truck completely over,” trucker Steve Lorber said.

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