Niagara Gazette

Communities

January 4, 2010

WEATHER: Unusual winter storm dumps a lot of snow on Falls

It doesn’t happen often, according to the National Weather Service, but the Falls on Monday had the dubious distinction of being one of the hardest hit areas in a massive winter storm that covered Western New York in a heavy blanket of white.

“Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda, unofficially, had the highest snow totals of anywhere in the region,” Weather Service Meteorologist Steve McLaughlin said. “It was just persistent bands (of lake effect snow) and it’s from Lake Ontario (as opposed to the usual source of lake effect snow, Lake Erie).”

The wintry weather arrived in full force on Friday and by Monday morning the storm dropped 31.3 inches of snow as measured at the Niagara Falls International Airport. North Tonawanda had a reported 26.2 inches of snow, while Lockport was blanketed with almost 24 inches.

“It’s kind of complicated,” McLaughlin said. “It’s an East Coast storm that’s throwing moisture back at us and it’s not moving.”

Despite a relatively mild winter so far, McLaughlin said folks here should prepare for cold and snow for the foreseeable future.

“We’re looking at teens and 20s for the next week and snow pretty much every day,” McLaughlin said. “It’s typical mid-winter conditions.”

The unusually heavy snowfall taxed the city’s Public Works Department as plows struggled to keep up with the steadily falling flakes.

“It was coming down so hard we just keep attacking the mains,” Public Works Director Dave Kinney said. “All we’d do was the mains because as fast as we got one group done, the others would be filled up again. We had to keep hitting them or we would have lost them and I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

Kinney said the city had 20 pieces of equipment on the streets around the clock. He also said the recent purchase of new equipment paid immediate dividends.

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