Western New York Under Blizzard Warning
BUFFALO (AP) – A winter that had already piled more than 100 inches of snow onto some upstate cities was hanging on with a vengeance Wednesday, delivering heavy snow and high winds under a blizzard warning that reached 150 miles from western into central New York.
One day after temperatures reached spring-like 50s, hundreds of schools, colleges and government offices were shut down and travel advisories were in effect across several western counties. The New York State Thruway banned tandem tractor-trailers from the Albany area to the Pennsylvania border south of Buffalo amid slick roads and 20-30 mph winds that gusted to 45 mph.
Between 10 and 24 inches of snow was expected in some areas from the eastern end of Lake Erie to the Adirondacks, with the highest totals forecast for counties bordering the southern shore of Lake Ontario.
“It was great yesterday. I washed my car!” said post office custodian Ed Szymanski, snow hitting his eyeglasses and melting into droplets as he shoveled outside a Buffalo post office Wednesday. He guessed he’d be out three or more times before the end of the day.
“I’m ready for nice weather,” he said, echoing the sentiments of many who were out and about in it.
The Golden Snowball contest that annually recognizes upstate New York’s snowiest city had Syracuse in the lead at a typical 114.8 inches ahead of Wednesday’s storm, with Buffalo in second with an above-average 106.8 inches. Rochester was in third with 86.4 inches, followed by Binghamton and Albany with 82.9 inches and 65.2 inches, respectively.
Andre Lillard of Buffalo drove to his office in suburban Amherst and stayed for an hour before being sent home as road conditions and visibility deteriorated.
“I lived in Florida for five years. I never quite got used to the heat down there, but when I came back I can’t do cold. My body has just changed,” he said laughing.
“I’m going to go home, watch TV, snack – or maybe like Jimmy Griffin used to say, get a six-pack,” Lillard said, referring to a former mayor’s oft-quoted advice during a storm years ago.
Three-year-old Amirah Boger greeted the latest snow day from preschool by “screaming and jumping for joy,” said her mother, Tasha Vega. They ventured out with Vega’s mother, Nancy Vega, for groceries before the worst of the weather Wednesday and planned to stay put once they got home.
“We’ll be watching movies, cuddling up under a blanket and relaxing,” Tasha Vega said.
“This is the coldest winter I remember. Ever,” said Al Shaffer of Lackawanna, who planned to spend the day shoveling at his brother’s businesses. “The coldest by far, hanging on way too long!”