BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Even by Buffalo's standards of winter fury, this was a snowstorm for the ages.

A blinding blitz of white buried Buffalo in a record 34 inches of snow Sunday, shutting down the airport, canceling schools and turning malls into pre-Christmas ghost towns. And more snow was falling today with up to 4 more inches expected.

``It's unbelievable,'' said Robert Stone, manager at Greater Buffalo International Airport. ``It's really awesome to be out here and see this snow fall in such a short time.''

The nearly 3 feet that fell at the airport by Sunday night shattered the previous record 24-hour snowfall record of 25 inches set in January 1982.

The snow closed the airport Sunday, canceling more than 200 flights. The beloved Buffalo Bills were unable to return from St. Louis after their victory over the Rams. Officials resumed flights today.

With no Christmas shoppers in sight, some malls and stores closed. One hospital suspended visiting hours. Schools canceled classes today.

A state of emergency was in effect, with all non-urgent travel barred from the streets of this city of 328,000 people. Cars were buried in drifts as crews this morning worked clearing roads.

``The object is to keep the main roads to the hospitals under control,'' said Vincent LoVallo, the city's streets commissioner. ``We haven't hit the residential streets because we can't with the amount of snow.''

Conditions were just as bad in the central part of the country. International Falls, Minn., awoke today to readings of 27 degrees below zero and snow depths measured 47 inches in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

An early siege of bitter cold may have contributed to three deaths in Wisconsin, including that of a 78-year-old Milwaukee woman who died while sweeping snow from her sidewalk. Her body was found dead next to her broom.

In Nevada, winds of up to 118 mph caused scattered power outages and blew down trees in the Reno-Tahoe area.

Buffalo got hit hard, but not as hard as in the blizzard of 1977, which lasted for days, killed 29 people and caused millions of dollars in damage.

``It's just a snowstorm. Nobody's panicking,'' said George Kloepfer, a teacher. ``Buffalo's good at this. Tell the rest of the country we're OK.''