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Paralyzing, blizzard-like conditions swept into western New York on Wednesday afternoon, with fierce winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour, creating a winter whiteout.

Twelve to 18 inches of heavy snow is expected to fall in Buffalo, Rochester and throughout the Adirondacks before the storm ends in the area Thursday afternoon.

A blizzard warning went into effect at 2 a.m. Wednesday as the storm slammed parts of Illinois and moved east.

The heaviest snow — potentially up to two feet — is expected to wallop the northern tier of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, said National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira.

Meanwhile, areas along Lake Ontario in western New York were bearing the brunt of Wednesday's wind and snow:

— Erik Ortiz