In Blasdell, near Buffalo, 28 inches of snow fell -- averaging 4.3 inches an hour for 6.5 hours, according to the National Weather Service.
Drivers caught by fast-falling snow were stuck in traffic for more than five hours on Route 5 on Thursday in Lackawanna, according to CNN affiliate WKBW
The students at Windom Elementary in Orchard Park, a southeast suburb of Buffalo, were finally sent home once the roads cleared late Thursday evening, school officials tweeted.
Earlier in the day clogged roads forced buses to re-route the students back to the school.
"Any buses that have not been able to complete their routes will be going to Windom Elementary," the school had advised on their website.
The inclement weather may have put a damper on the day, but as the sun set, snowed in teachers and kids made the best of a difficult situation.
"It started getting really late and no more buses were called, so we had to eat dinner here and some kids fell asleep," one student told CNN affiliate TWC News Buffalo. "I was just freak'n out about that."
The kids passed the time playing, watching movies and eating snacks, school officials tweeted.
Buffalo, which sits on the eastern shores of Lake Erie is no stranger to lake-effect snow, which forms when cold dry air passes over a relatively warm body of water.
"Lake-effect snow comes down very fast, 3-5 inches per hour," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
Farther south, snow blasted the cities of Blasdell, Hamburg and Perrysburg bringing as much as 23 to 28 inches of snow Thursday, the National Weather Service
A lake-effect warning remains in effect until Friday afternoon across southern counties in the state, the National Weather Service warns.
National Weather Service meteorologists estimate an additional 2 to 6 inches of snow and 10-15 mile per hour winds will cause treacherous travel conditions on Friday.