About 30 fires broke out around the city in the first 24 hours of the storm, most related to candles and generators, fire officials said. All were put out. Erie County authorities said two people, including an off-duty state trooper, died in traffic crashes, and one person died after being hit by a falling tree limb while shoveling snow. Ambulance crews brought oxygen to the elderly and drove patients to dialysis treatments. Pataki asked President George W. Bush to declare a federal snow emergency in Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties. If the request is granted, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse government agencies for 75 percent of the costs for snow and debris removal. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., canceled a trip to Nevada so she could visit the area today.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo area lay all but paralyzed Friday after a record-breaking early snowstorm whited-out the brilliant colors of fall, burying pumpkins and apples and catching this city world-famous for its wintry weather flat-flooted. The heavy, wet snow snapped tree limbs all over western New York, leaving some 392,000 homes and businesses without power. At least three deaths were blamed on the storm, and a state of emergency was in effect in four counties, banning all nonessential travel. Branches and power lines lay draped across cars and houses, and normally busy downtown streets were still, blanketed by up to two feet of snow. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“I thought it was kind of pretty but eerie,” said Ann Goff, who walked to her job at a Buffalo supermarket in the middle of the night. “It was scary listening to the cracking of the branches.” The snow, delivered in a fury of thunder and lightning, blanketed Buffalo and surrounding areas Thursday night and early Friday. A 105-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway was closed for hours, and food and water had to be delivered by snowmobile to stranded motorists until roads reopened about 5 p.m. Friday. Many municipal trucks were still working to remove leaves on Thursday and did not have plows attached when the surprise storm hit. Some residents in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst were without water Friday after a water pumping station failed in the storm, County Executive Joel Giambra said. Gov. George Pataki said a generator was being brought from Albany to power the station. Dr. Anthony Billittier, the Erie County health commissioner, said some hospitals were on emergency power and facing water shortages.