Snow, how i miss it!

Adam L. Beberg beberg@mithral.com
Fri, 28 Dec 2001 17:15:27 -0800 (PST)


Even I, a Minnesotan, consider this a heavy snowfall :)
Keep in mind they are just catching up to normal tho...

- Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
  http://www.iit.edu/~beberg/
  beberg@mithral.com

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Friday December 28 5:23 PM ET

Buffalo Digs Out From Snowstorm
By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The National Guard was called out Friday to help
Buffalo dig out from a paralyzing, five-day storm that unloaded nearly 7
feet of snow - an astonishing amount even for this city of legendary
snowdrifts.

The record-breaking storm - which rolled in on Christmas Eve after an
extraordinarily mild November and December - buried cars, shrubs, trash cans
and mailboxes, reached windowsills, and swallowed up Christmas lawn
displays. Buffalo's airport was closed, along with most major roads.

The storm finally blew out of town Friday, heading south for ski country,
and the sun broke through in the afternoon.

Gov. George Pataki ordered the National Guard to help weary plow crews dig
the city out. And Rep. Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., asked President Bush for federal
aid.

``The president has nicknames for everyone and he calls me the big man from
Buffalo. I'm 6-foot-5,'' Quinn said, ``and I'm going to tell him the snow is
over the big man's head.''

Buffalo is accustomed to towering amounts of snow from ``lake effect''
storms coming off Lake Erie. But this was huge even by Buffalo standards.
Large masses of cold air kept siphoning moisture from the lake and dropping
it in bands of snow.

Among the records set:

- The 83.5 inches of snow this month - 82.3 of it since Monday - makes this
the snowiest month in Buffalo history. The old record of 68.4 inches had
stood since December 1985.

-The 35.4 inches of snow that fell from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday
ranks as the second-highest 24-hour total in Buffalo history. The record is
37.9 inches, Dec. 9-10, 1995.

-The 45 inches on the ground at the National Weather Service's airport
measuring station Friday eclipsed the 42-inch record set in January 1977.
The reading was less than the total snowfall because some snow had melted or
had become compacted.

At least two deaths were blamed on the storm: An 83-year-old man in
Cheektowaga died Friday when heavy snow collapsed his carport. And a woman
was killed in an auto accident on an icy road in Lewiston.

Residents shoveled snow from porches and roofs to keep them from buckling
under the weight, and police reported several roof collapses around the
region. Hospitals asked for volunteers with four-wheel-drive vehicles to
pick up staff members unable to make it in.

Erie County Executive Joel Giambra said some 50 National Guard trucks and
bucketloaders and an undetermined number of troops were being sent from
Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica to supplement those in Buffalo after Pataki
declared the city a disaster area.

``Fresh bodies, fresh troops if you will, will go a long way to helping us
stay on top of this,'' Giambra said.

Streets Commissioner Paul Sullivan said crews had to go beyond simply
plowing the streets: ``It's to the point now where we have to remove the
snow because the snowbanks are so high.'' Snow was trucked to designated
dumping areas.

Despite the see-it-to-believe-it accumulation, the storm did little to
rattle the city's snow-seasoned residents.

``It's fun,'' said Fran Eddy as he waited tables. ``This is Buffalo, you
have to expect this.''

At a bar, Tina Englehart and friends defended their city and laughed off
Buffalo's image as snow-cursed town. She said bad weather brings out the
best in Buffalonians, remembering a snowy New Year's Eve a couple of years
ago.

``Everyone was getting stuck and people were pulling off the road to push
each other out and shovel each other out,'' she said. ``You just wouldn't
see that in a city like Washington, D.C.''

This time, it helped that schoolchildren and many workers were on vacation
when the storm struck. Once it arrived, few ventured outside, perhaps taking
former Mayor James Griffin's advice during a 1977 blizzard to wait it out
with a six-pack of beer and a football game.

As for football, the Buffalo Bills planned to fly out of Niagara Falls or
Rochester to get to New York City in time for Sunday's game against the
Jets. Hockey's Buffalo Sabres, scheduled to play at Columbus, Ohio, on
Saturday, scrambled by four-wheel-drive trucks to the Niagara Falls airport
for a hastily arranged charter flight.

The storm delivered 25.2 inches of snow by Christmas morning after two
strangely mild months: the city's first-ever snowless November and a paltry
1.2 inches of snow through Dec. 23.

That seemed a distant memory Friday as residents began the backbreaking
process of digging out their cars - a somewhat pointless pursuit given the
road closings.

As one man cleared snow from his car, a fire engine roared by. Shouted one
firefighter: ``Where do you think you're going to go anyway?''