Buffalo NY Death Toll Rises After Winter Snow Storm
A recent snow storm left more than a foot of snow in Buffalo, NY. According to officials, the winter storm was so severe that the State of New York has declared a state of emergency. Meanwhile, Lake Erie was said to be “extremely cold” during the storm. Consequently, a number of power outages were reported throughout Western New York. However, the effects of the storm are expected to subside.
Lake Erie was “extremely cold” during the storm
A trio of wind gusts in the neighborhood of 55mph made for a memorable time in a small city on the northern end of Lake Erie. This is the best and worst time for many who have to deal with the brisk winds of fall. The one-scooped pond has been a chilly place for much of the season. And as of the afternoon, more than two thirds of the state’s emergency response vehicles were stuck in the thick stuff. Fortunately, that’s about to change.
As it turns out, there’s one reason to be glad you were on the lake when it started to blow: a massive lake-effect snow and ice storm is on its way. While the storm will pass over New York, Ontario and Quebec, it will bring several feet of new snow to the east coast. That and a cold weather odometer that will be hard to beat as winter slinks into the rearview mirror.
Power outages in Western New York
As the winter storm moved across the state, thousands of residents experienced power outages in Western New York. The storm caused widespread tree damage and downed power lines. However, crews made some progress restoring power. Almost 87% of Buffalo residents had their power restored by Sunday morning.
Power outages also occurred in other areas of the state, including Catskills and the Capital District. Many communities reported more than a foot of snowfall, with some locations recording as much as three feet.
In the midst of the storm, the State Department of Transportation and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services teamed up with New York state police and other public safety agencies. About 750 crashes were reported, while hundreds of rescues were conducted by the state police.
Some 60,000 customers have experienced power outages due to downed wires and trees. In some cases, people have been without power for more than two days.
Lake-effect snows blowing downwind from the Great Lakes will become less intense
Lake-effect snows are produced when the cold air in the Arctic is swept over the Great Lakes. The winds then deposit the snow inland. These snows are less common in areas upwind from the prevailing northwesterly winds over the lakes. However, they can have significant accumulations when they hit a region downwind of the lakes.
Most lake-effect snowfalls occur on the east and south shores of the Great Lakes. This is due to the fact that the wind moves over the water faster than land. Also, as the waters become warmer, they absorb more moisture from the cold air. Ultimately, this causes the moisture to condense into clouds.
In addition to the wind direction, there are other factors that affect the formation of lake-effect snows. These include the temperature of the air, the fetch (the distance the air travels over open water), and the upstream moisture in the air.
Lake-effect snowfalls usually form in a 15 to 40-mile wide zone, starting on the lee side of the lake. During these storms, bands of heavy snow form. Occasionally, a single band can be 40 to 160 kilometers long.
State of emergency declared for Empire State
A massive winter snowstorm has left at least 57 dead and thousands more without power in New York. In the Buffalo area alone, more than 50 inches of snow fell, leading to the highest death toll in the state.
The Associated Press reported that more than two dozen people have died in the past two days. Authorities found the bodies of victims in snowbanks and in vehicles. Some of the deaths were from exposure or freezing. Others were from cardiac stress while shoveling.
Governor Kathy Hochul has asked for federal assistance after the storm. President Joe Biden has approved a federal emergency declaration for Erie and Genesee counties. Federal aid will assist local response efforts, according to a statement from the White House.
Erie County remains in a state of emergency. During the storm, authorities dispatched the New York National Guard to help with search and rescue missions.
Several agencies in the state are prepared for the upcoming storm. The State Office of Fire Prevention and Control has UTVs ready for deployment. And the State Department of Transportation has plow trucks and 75 Incident Command System (ICS) personnel.