State Trooper Daniel Golinski said a 10-mile section of Interstate 90 was closed in both directions in Buffalo's eastern suburbs. The highway was closed shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday after vehicles backed up behind a truck accident became buried in blowing snow.
The truck jackknifed around 8 p.m. Wednesday and has been removed, but crews were still working Thursday morning to free the stranded vehicles, Golinski said.
"There's a lot of work to do yet," he said.
The lake-effect storm that began Wednesday dumped up to 23 inches on the Buffalo area, forcing dozens of schools to cancel classes Thursday. Power remains out for about 10,000 utility customers in eastern New York.
Snowmobiles and emergency vehicles were being used to check on the snowbound motorists. Drivers were also stranded on an intersecting 3-mile stretch of Interstate 190 that was closed.
Golinski described the scene as "13 miles of bumper-to-bumper cars, two lanes each - three lanes each depending on where they are."
Power remains out for about 10,000 utility customers in eastern New York. Most of the outages were National Grid customers in central New York and the Adirondacks.