The Western New York area was hit by a blast of frigid weather Friday, closing most of the region's schools, and another cold weather system is now on its way.
As of Friday afternoon, the low was 0 degrees, barely missing the record of minus 1, which was set in 1981. But National Weather Service officials said the area could hit or surpass the record Friday night after dark.
Subzero wind chills were recorded on Friday. Between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., when most school districts announced a snow day, the windchill was anywhere between minus 10 and minus 15.
"At 6:54 a.m., the windchill was minus 16," Jim Mitchell, of the National Weather Service, said. "I'm sure it got down to minus 20."
Both the downtown library and the LaSalle library were closed in Niagara Falls on Friday as were the John Duke Senior Center and the LaSalle facility on Colvin Boulevard.
Mayor Paul Dyster said both branches of the city's libraries were expected to be open for regular hours today, following furnace repairs at the Earl W. Brydges branch on Main Street.
The weather kept city snow plow crews busy throughout the day Thursday and overnight into Friday. Unlike a late December blast that prompted complaints from residents who felt the city's snow-removal response was lax, Dyster said this round of snow did not fall as quickly or in as high a volume, allowing the Department of Public Works to keep a better pace to it.
By mid-day Friday, most roads, including side streets, were visited by city plow drivers.
"We didn't get as much snow and the snow that we got came steadily over a longer period of time instead of suddenly at one period of time," Dyster said.
In total, 6.8 inches of snow fell between New Year's Day and Friday as part of the winter storm Hercules. Although the wind chill advisory expired Friday at noon, another one was issued between 9 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.