While we had a historic snow and wind event here in West Michigan, the lake-effect snow was worse east of Lake Erie and Ontario. The Buffalo Airport reported 22.3″ of snow on Friday (along with wind gusts to 67 mph at the airport) and another 17.9″ on Saturday. That’s over 40″ of snow in two days. Total from the entire storm topped 4 feet at the airport. The average wind speed for these two days was 27.7 mph and that strong wind blew the snow into enormous drifts. Wind gusts near lake Erie reached 74 mph – that’s (minimal) hurricane force. Blizzard conditions began Friday morning and lasted until Saturday night The picture above shows the snow almost up to the top of the door. The high temperature on Saturday in Buffalo was just 14 and the combination of snow, wind and cold was deadly.

Nationally, there were at least 67 storm-related fatalities. Thirty-eight of the fatalities were in and near the city of Buffalo., where the death toll actually exceeded the famous Blizzard of 1977. The dead ranged in age from 22 to 93. One official said: ““I do know that some were found in cars and some were found actually on the street in snowbanks.” Twenty-eight deaths have been confirmed in the city of Buffalo. Hundreds of National Guard troops have been called out to help with the clean-up. Here’s a breakdown of the Buffalo fatalities:

  • 17 were found outside
  • 9 were from no heat
  • 4 were from cardiac events due to shoveling or snow blowing
  • 4 were in a stranded vehicle
  • 3 was from an EMS delay in getting to emergency calls because of the snow

Fierce winds knocked down trees and cut power to thousands of customers
Here’s weather observations Friday during the Buffalo Blizzard

The Buffalo Airport is was closed until Tuesday and when it reopened Tuesday, most flights were canceled. The airport recorded a period with zero visibility in snow and blowing snow. It’s rare to see a zero visibility. You can also see in the obs. above that the wind was busting to 67 mph. That’s about as bad as it gets.

As of Tuesday afternoon, travel bans were reduced to travel advisories in all of Erie County, except the City of Buffalo, which was among the hardest hit and slowest to dig out. Grocery stores reopened Tuesday after being closed since Friday.

Heavy snowfall totaled up to 4 feet east of Lake Ontario on the Tug Plateau.

Strong winds knocked out power to 131,000 customers in the Canadian Province of Quebec. 71,000 customers lost power in New Brunswick. There were still 59,000 without power in Ontario as of Sunday evening. The snow and wind grounded dozens of planes and train travel was disrupted.