The NFL playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills will not be pushed back a second time, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday while treacherous weather continued to pound the Buffalo area.
The AFC wild-card game was initially scheduled for Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y., but was pushed back to Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET due to a powerful lake-effect snowstorm.
Snow was falling at about 3 to 6 inches per hour Sunday with winds up to 50 mph, Hochul said during a press conference.
“Game time on Monday, weather conditions will be very cold. They’ll be in the teens, and even wind-chill factors as low as zero, maybe to 9 degrees, but that’s going to be very, very cold,” Hochul said. “But this will be without the danger of the winds and the blinding snow and the hazardous traffic conditions for those as they traveled to the stadium or leaving based on current predictions.
“So, that is a better dynamic, by far better dynamic, than we would’ve had today. I’m not saying it’s going to be pleasant, but conditions won’t be life threatening either.”
A travel ban is still in effect for downtown Buffalo as well as suburban Orchard Park.
Pittsburgh flew to Buffalo on Sunday afternoon for the contest.
The dangerous weather conditions in the Buffalo area have kept workers from preparing Highmark Stadium for Monday’s game. The contest was rescheduled on Saturday.
Mayor Byron Brown said the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was open Sunday morning but that most commercial flights had been canceled.
The game originally was set for 1 p.m. Sunday, but Hochul announced a travel ban in the area on Saturday along with the rescheduling of the contest with blizzard-like conditions expected.
As of Sunday morning, the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services reported that the travel ban for passenger and commercial vehicles remained in effect for most of Erie County, which is where the Bills’ stadium in Orchard Park is located.
Jack Durkin, a Syracuse-based meteorologist, said Sunday morning that a foot of snow had fallen in Orchard Park. While the National Weather Service’s Buffalo office had not provided official snow totals for the storm, the New York State Thruway Authority posted photos to social media that showed whiteout conditions.
“Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Blizzard conditions are expected through the day,” the agency said.
The travel ban has kept workers away from Highmark Stadium. Earlier this weekend, the Bills had issued a plea for temporary workers to bring their shovels and come to the stadium to clear it for the game.
On Sunday morning, the team asked the work crew to stay away, at least for now.
“With the weather forecast updates and the travel bans that are now in place, snow shovelers are being asked to abide by travel bans and not report to Highmark Stadium until further notice once the bans are lifted,” a team statement said.
“More information will be shared regarding report times once the weather improves and bans are lifted.”
–Field Level Media