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THE GREAT SNOW STORM OF 01'

Compiled by Steve Powell

December 27th, 2001

Buffalo is king at last! We are now royalty in the weather world, the greatest city in the world for snow. We have proven again to all that we love our snow and love our city. The snow is picturesque, like a post card from the Swiss Alps. Snow piled high on rooftops and along city streets. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers. The national media has again spun its unblinking eye upon us, and we have shown the world that we love this stuff.

Now lets talk fact for the history books. In 24 hours, 35.4 inches of snow fell from 6 a.m. Thursday December 27th, 2001 to 6 a.m. Friday December 28th, 2001. That amount ranks as a 2nd place finish for the greatest snows dropped in any one day on Buffalo.

82.3 inches of snow fell in a period of one week (from Monday December 24th, 2001 to Friday December 28th, 2001).

The intensely fluffy snow fell very gently with no wind to blow it around. This created a serene Christmas like effect that deceived some Buffalonians, lulling them into a sense of cozy security in the safety of their homes. That sense of security was changed when they tried to step outside, and quickly realized they could not move their cars which had become mere bumps in the snow. The heavy snow eased early Friday, but resumed with full force late in the morning when the wind shifted direction.

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport and City Hall were both shut down Thursday night, and bus service was suspended, according to a spokesman for Mayor Anthony Masiello.
A state of emergency has been declared and a ban on driving private vehicles was ordered.
Area malls were closed Friday, though some pharmacies and supermarkets -- and at least one pizzeria promising delivery -- remained open.

"This is the mother of all 'lake-effect' snows," said Tom Niziol, of the National Weather Service's forecast office in Buffalo. "It's like putting a hose in Lake Erie and sweeping the region with lots of snow."

Click here to see Buffalo's top 10 snowfalls since 1890, in inches, during a 24-hour period

Plows were brought in from Rochester and Lewiston, and members of the National Guard were also called into service to help remove the huge mountains of snow that had accumulated.

But the sheer quantity of the snow means plows cannot simply shove it to the side, as they usually do, instead, they are loading it onto trucks and driving it out of town, which slows the effort.

At one point, the snow fell so heavily -- up to 4 inches per hour -- that the plows could not keep up.

Rep. Jack Quinn 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," the New York Republican said, "and I'm going to tell him the snow is over the big man's head."

At least one traffic death was attributed to the storm, that of a 50-year-old woman whose car was struck Wednesday by a pickup truck on an icy suburban street. A man died when a carport collapsed on him.

Snow had to be trucked out of some areas, especially major intersections, where too much lay for plows to push it off the roads. Officials scouted for flat areas, including parks, where the snow could be dumped. The snow, which is mixed with salt and other contaminants, cannot be dumped into the lake.

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 (news - web sites)'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.

 

 

This text is Copyright 2001 all rights reserved by Stephen Powell and buffalonian.com. This electronic text may not be duplicated or used in any manner without written consent of Stephen R. Powell or buffalonian.com™

 

 

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