STORY: The squalls could persist through Sunday, creating sporadic bursts of intense snowfall that could exceed 4 feet of snow in or near Buffalo, which lies at the eastern end of the lake.
Nearly 6,500 customers were without power in the Buffalo area as of Friday morning, according to Poweroutage.us. Parts of the New York Thruway were closed and flights were canceled at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The Buffalo Public Schools district, the state's second-largest serving 32,000 students, canceled all classes.
Even so, some western New Yorker seemed unfazed. Reuters captured footage of several people taking their all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, out for a spin on Buffalo's roads in the middle of the snowstorm.
Buffalo is New York state's second most populous city with some 278,000 residents.