BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Snow accompanied by high winds is hitting a wide stretch of upstate New York as the winter-weary region braces for blizzard conditions that have prompted school closings and travel advisories.

Hundreds of schools have called off classes Wednesday and state transportation officials are urging motorists to stay off roads and highways in western New York where whiteout conditions are expected.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning until early Thursday morning for an area stretching from New York's southwest corner to eastern Lake Ontario.

Forecasters say 10 to 24 inches of snow is expected in some areas from the eastern end of Lake Erie to the Adirondacks.

Snow was falling midmorning, with wind gusts topping 30 mph. Forecasters say wind gusts as high as 50 mph are expected later Wednesday.