Fox News Weather Center

Buffalo Area Snow Forces Delay, Relocation of Bills Game as Roads Remain Restricted

The mammoth amount of snow that fell across areas around Buffalo, New York, has caused extreme travel delays and frustrations for area residents.

With anywhere from 4 to 7 feet of snow in the Buffalo area and in other areas upstate, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared an ongoing state of emergency for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Franklin, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Wyoming and contiguous counties.

Crews worked around the clock to clear roads and rescue trapped motorists. Officials also ordered a travel ban to keep roads uncluttered so emergency vehicles and plows could move more easily.

The travel bans have created headaches for the Buffalo Bills organization and the National Football League as the Bills vs. Jets game was set to take place on Sunday at the team's complex in Orchard Park, New York.

Instead, the game will be played roughly 250 miles west at Ford Field in Detroit and will kick off at 7 p.m. EST Monday.

Early in the week when the NFL was still contemplating the feasibility of allowing the Bills to host the game, the team took to social media to enlist help clearing out Ralph Wilson Stadium.

According to Bills VP of Operations and Guest Experience Andy Major, 220,000 tons of snow had to be removed from the stadium.

Once travel bans are lifted, fans can call the number for more information on how to take part in the snow removal efforts.

Sitting in Erie County, one of the hardest-hit areas, the complex and surrounding roads are in an area where road travel is still prohibited. Only emergency vehicles are allowed to be on the roads.

According to the Bills, 85 percent of the team lives in southern Buffalo suburbs where snow piled up to mountainous totals. The team has not been able to practice over the week due to the ban on travel and general hazardous conditions in the area.

The travel bans preventing players from getting to practice might also halt the team from arriving in Detroit. Though the Buffalo airport remains open, the team cannot travel along roadways that are under a travel ban.

Bills President Russ Brandon said the plan is to travel to Detroit on Friday, weather and roads permitting. If the team exhausts all options and cannot leave Buffalo, there is a chance the game could be delayed further.

Brandon described there being a "disadvantage" as normal operations have been compromised.

"They haven't been able to work out, practice, proper nutrition and hydration all plays a big part of the performance on Sundays," he said in a conference call. "Those are concerns we all have."

Brandon said the team is working with the NFL on a "variety of logistics" as the situation remains fluid.

All season ticket holders will have their accounts credited towards next season, though refunds are available upon request. Fans who purchased single-game tickets will be issued refunds.

Brandon explained that the next scheduled home game could also be in jeopardy.

The Bills are set to take on the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 30 and team officials are worried the snow removal process could prove too demanding to be done in time.

While much of the Buffalo area remains in a standstill, local officials are scrambling to remove as much snow as possible in neighborhoods and on roads as well.

On Thursday morning, local enforcement held a press conference encouraging residents to follow instructions in order to stay safe in such volatile conditions.

Erie Deputy County Executive Richard Tobe advised that the community should continue to be smart, stay at home and observe the driving bans.

He said that hundreds, if not thousands, of cars were stranded across the community on main and secondary roadways. In attempts to avoid crowded roadways, numerous tractor trailers diverted to secondary, smaller roadways which also were completely covered with thick snow.

Some of those trucks were dug out on Thursday as crews could maneuver through roadways easier. Still, officials warn residents to stay off the street so the rest of the vehicles can be recovered.

According to the governor's office, 526 plows with 1,247 operators and supervisors were activated to handle the immense snow amounts.

"This storm has made everyone miserable," Kassie Tamulski said. "And we need to desperately get this snow off but it is so hard to. I'm here by myself and tried my best to do what I can. But people don't understand how hard it is to do so."