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Two die shoveling snow; those with cardiac risks advised to 'just let your driveway fill up with snow'

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Snow falls in Orchard Park on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

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The lake-effect snowstorm turned deadly for a couple of men who died of heart attacks while clearing snow.

"I have to, unfortunately, announce that we have confirmed two deaths associated with this storm, two males who, unfortunately, have perished as a result of exertion, having cardiac events associated with snow shoveling and snowblowing," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said Friday.

Poloncarz revealed the deaths during his 3 p.m. storm update at the command center in the Fire Training Academy on Broadway in Cheektowaga.

"And I do want to offer my deepest condolences to their families at this very sad time," he said.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein noted that exceptionally heavy wet snow poses a danger to those with cardiac issues when they shovel it.

"It can be very, very dangerous for some individuals, people who have high blood pressure, people who have any type of cardiac history, to go out and shovel the snow, especially right now, because the snow is so heavy," said Burstein.

"So, please, just let your driveway fill up with snow," she said. "There's no place to go right now. Or, you can just hire, say, a younger person from your neighborhood. Give them a few bucks, and they can clear your driveway."

Poloncarz warned residents to heed the travel advisory, particularly in those areas where the snow is falling fast, to avoid getting stuck in the snow and putting rescuers and other first responders in jeopardy.

The areas receiving the heaviest snowfall between 7 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. Friday include Lackawanna, Hamburg, Orchard Park, and parts of Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Evans, Poloncarz said.

A travel ban remains in effect from below downtown Buffalo at the William Street line, including South Buffalo, Lovejoy and parts of the Ellicott districts in the city and out toward Lackawanna and areas to the south of there.

"People are getting stuck," Poloncarz said. "Do not drive in the band zone. You are putting yourself and others at risk."

Walking back through knee deep wet heavy snow in Orchard Park.

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