Remembering Buffalo blizzard that killed 47 people last winter

One year ago the Buffalo blizzard formed

One year ago the Buffalo blizzard formed

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It’s been one year since the five-day long blizzard that hit Western New York and killed 47 people in the Buffalo area. The storm led to tragedy but also brought out the compassion of Buffalonians and their neighbors in Rochester.

The storm, which didn’t hit Rochester as severely, left people further west trapped in their homes in Erie and Niagara counties. The blizzard dumped a total of over four feet of lake-effect snow from Dec. 23 through 27, making the first day of the blizzard a snowfall record for Buffalo.

Because of the unbearable travel conditions, emergency crews were unable to respond to some of the hundreds of calls for help. That led to people dying from being trapped in their cars or from being unable to get help during medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests.

Members of the Rochester Police Department were in Buffalo on snow mobiles helping with the search-and-rescue efforts. In addition, crews from the Gates, Chili, Brighton, Henrietta, Ridge Road, and Lakeshore fire departments helped to respond to the blizzard.

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The storm shutdown the Buffalo Airport, part of the Thruway, and led to a travel ban. It brought winds near 80 miles per hour and temperatures in the low teens. On Christmas day alone, the area saw one to two feet of snow.

The storm was followed by intensive efforts to clear the snow, restore electricity, and hold donations drives. Volunteers from Rochester packed a moving truck at Parcel 5 with essentials including non-perishable food, first-aid kids, toiletries, winter coats, and shovels for people impacted by the blizzard.