Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Buffalo, NY

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NOUS41 KBUF 311200

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
800 AM EDT TUE OCT 31 2017


The National Weather Service and The New York State Office of
Emergency Management is promoting winter safety to all New Yorkers
during Winter Weather Awareness week October 29 through November 4.

Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding
commuters, closing airports, stopping the flow of supplies and
disrupting services. Accumulations of snow can cause roofs to
collapse and knock down trees and power lines. Homes and farms may
be isolated for days. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages,
and the loss of business can have severe economic impacts on cities
and towns.

Heavy snow in Western and Northern New York is defined as 7 inches
or more falling in a 12 hour period, or 9 inches or more falling in
a 24 hour period.

Most heavy snow in Western and Northern New York is caused by lake
effect. As arctic air sweeps across the relatively warm waters of
Lakes Erie and Ontario, heavy snow forms and falls downstream.
Snowfall rates can exceed 4 inches an hour which is enough to
overwhelm most snow removal crews and equipment. Strong winds often
accompany lake effect snow which cause deep drifts and reduce

Heavy snow can also fall as the result of large storms called Nor
Easters which move up the Atlantic Coast. Whereas lake effect snow
usually falls in narrow bands, snow from Nor Easters can blanket
thousands of square miles.

Looking back at the historical record, Western and Northern New York
has had its share of dangerous winter storms. One only has to
remember back to November of 2014 to be reminded how dangerous early
season winter storms can be when about seven feet of snow fell
across the southern parts of the Niagara Frontier. Snow fell at the
rate of three to six inches per hour. As is often the case with many
of our heavy lake effect snow events, thunder and lightning
accompanied the intense lake effect snow.

Among all storms, the Blizzard of 1977 ranks as one of the worst.
While only about a foot of snow fell from January 28th to February
1st, wind gusts up to 75 miles an hour in Niagara Falls and 69 miles
an hour in Buffalo whipped up snow drifts over 20 feet deep, nearly
topping telephone poles. Thousands of people were stranded away from
their homes as roads became clogged and impassable. Twenty-nine
people died, many frozen to death in their buried cars. President
Carter proclaimed a federal disaster over a seven county area.

People living in and around Rochester will not soon forget the
Blizzard of March 4, 1999. Over two feet of snow accompanied by
strong winds forced the closing of the New York State Thruway and
the stranding of thousands of motorists. The National Guard was
called on to help remove cars and rescue the motorists. Power
outages affected over 10,000 customers.

You can always get the latest information on threatening winter
storms, 24 hours a day, by tuning into NOAA weather radio the voice
of the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service encourages you to prepare now for heavy
snows and the effects it may have on the region.

You can find out more about winter weather safety on our website at


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