Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's ain't me, babe

Dear out-of-town friends:

Some of the readers in this space probably have been watching the national media for the past few days talk about Buffalo and its massive snow story. Hundreds stranded on the Thruway for almost a full day. Roads closed. City buried. Film at 11. The Weather Channel practically opened a bureau here.

You are probably asking, "Will Budd ever be seen again?"

Well, yes. After he's done running and mowing the lawn.

The last part is an exaggeration, but only because it's cold. In South Buffalo, there were three feet of snow. In North Buffalo, there were no feet of snow. Nothing, nada, zilch. I could have gone running in the park every day this week.

For those who have never lived in this part of the world, lake effect snow can be a funhouse. The winds pass over Lake Erie, picking up moisture. Then the air passes over land, and proceeds to dump that moisture in the form of snow within a narrow band. It takes a big body of water to produce lake effect snow; I believe the Great Lakes and the Caspian Sea are the only ones large enough.

The catch is that the bands can be extremely narrow if potent. In this case, the band of snow was only about seven miles wide, but it didn't go anywhere for about a day. Therefore, you could take a magic marker and draw a line mostly east but a little north from South Buffalo/Lackawanna and go through Depew up to Alden. Those who were within that band got hit with up to three feet. Downtown got a few inches. North Buffalo and north got zero. (The picture is taken from Buffalo looking south at downtown and the wall of white beyond it. Thanks to a Facebook friend of a friend for it.)

This morning, I drove to South Buffalo for a funeral. In 15 minutes, I was in a different climate -- snow piled everywhere, trucks carrying piles of snow to a place where they could be safely dumped. Sidewalks were a mess; everyone walked on the street. At least the main streets were clean, but we still parked at a hospital parking ramp and walked a few blocks to get to the funeral.

The lake effect can hit almost anywhere along the lake shore. Remember the October storm that dumped 30 inches before the leafs were down, causing massive power failures and traffic problems? Remember the Christmas week storms when we had 83 inches of snow during the course of a week? We sure do.

This time, we in North Buffalo missed the fun. Tomorrow, we may not be so lucky.

But in the meantime, my snowblower remains unused this season.

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