Tonawanda News

Local News

December 19, 2008

WEATHER: Driving ban in North Tonawanda, elsewhere

It was an early Christmas gift for school-aged children and a pain in the rear for people hoping to finish up — or, in many cases, start — their holiday shopping Friday as the Tonawandas received their first blast of wintry weather, just two days before the official start of winter.

By mid-afternoon, the storm had already dumped between 8 and 10 inches of snow across the Tonawandas, beginning at about 10 a.m. “This storm worked out almost exactly as forecast,” said Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cheektowaga.

Another two inches of snow is expected to fall between 4 and 6 p.m. Friday, keeping area roadways snow-covered. But, Hitchcock said, “It’ll leave as quickly as it arrived. The good news is, this pretty much locks up a white Christmas for us.”

Anticipating significant accumulations and blowing snow to begin after the start of the school day, superintendents in the Tonawandas made the decision to cancel classes rather than risk sending children home early in poor weather.

Districts across the region did the same, with the exception of the Lewiston Porter Central School District, which dismissed secondary students at 10:30 a.m. and elementary pupils an hour later.

By early Friday afternoon, police scanners were busy with dispatchers radioing reports of various accidents to patrols. At about 12:10 p.m., a City of Tonawanda patrolman saw a vehicle heading toward the Town of Tonawanda on the wrong side of the Twin City Memorial Highway.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do but keep our fingers crossed,” the patrolman said over the police radio as he attempted to track down the vehicle.

Several WNY roadways were closed, including the Skyway. Police in North Tonawanda have issued a driving advisory until 6 a.m. Saturday, and City of Tonawanda and Town of Tonawanda police were advising motorists to avoid any unnecessary travel.

City Halls in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda closed at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively, and will reopen at 9 a.m. Monday. Local public libraries also closed early Friday.

At 1:30 p.m., National Weather Service spotters reported 9 inches of snow on the ground in North Tonawanda in the previous six hours.

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