Tonawanda News — Western New Yorkers were socked into their homes and businesses as Friday as one of the season’s most significant snow storms steadily encroached on the region.
Residents, snow removal contractors and city employees began digging out by late Friday afternoon, while police had few major accidents to report by early evening.
The storm was not the largest of the winter season, reaching only 6.2 inches of accumulation by late afternoon, while portions of Orleans and northern Niagara counties got walloped with more than a foot of snow. The National Weather Service said the area would receive one to two more inches through Friday night.
Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said Dec. 26 was the heaviest snow this winter, with over a foot falling in the Tonawandas, though he noted Friday’s accumulations happened fast, beginning at roughly 9 a.m. and largely tapering off by 6 p.m.
“There’s been pretty heavy snow today,” he said. “If you drew a line from the New York State Thruway, north of that line is where the heaviest snow has been. It was a few degrees warmer in the southtowns, there’s only been a few inches there.”
The storm was not limited to upstate New York either, as the coastal cities of New York and Boston had their own weather system to contend with. There, airlines cancelled flights and residents hunkered down. Hitchcock said Boston would get more than two feet of snow and winds up to 60 mph overnight.
Buffalo and its surrounding areas would see winds gusts up to 35 mph.
Brad Rowles, superintendent of the North Tonawanda Department of Public Works, said he tracked the approaching storm system on Thursday and took preventive steps, coating the roadways ahead of time with salt and an additive that would ease working conditions as plow drivers took to the city’s more than 200 miles of plowable lanes.
Rowles said he noticed that Lumber City residents appeared to head home early or stay at home all together, with an earlier rush Friday afternoon allowing his employees to aggressively plow main roads before the normal rush hour of 5 p.m.
“Today was a school day, it was a work day and you want to put out a lot of extra care when the buses are out and the kids are on their way to school,” he said. “We’re going to stay out throughout the night so when people get out this morning the streets will be cleared curb to curb.”
Hitchcock said there is no snow in the forecast for much of Saturday, though temperatures will not rise much above 20 degrees before a warm weather system moves in for several days on Sunday.