Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event Lake-Effect Snow
State NEW YORK
County/Area ORLEANS
WFO BUF
Report Source Law Enforcement
NCDC Data Source CSV
Begin Date 2006-10-12 17:00:00.0 EST-5
End Date 2006-10-13 08:00:00.0 EST-5
Deaths Direct/Indirect 0/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 0/0
Property Damage 750.00K
Crop Damage 0.00K
Episode Narrative Low pressure over Lake Superior brought a westerly flow of unseasonably cold air across western New York. Lake Effect rain began Thursday (10/13/06) morning. By midday the rain began mixing with graupel and thunder and lightning was reported. The cold air became deep enough to change the precipitation to wet snow across the Niagara Frontier by 2 p.m. Little accumulation resulted for the first few hours of snowfall. By between 5 and 8 p.m. accumulations began to reach the two to three inch mark. The weight of this heavy, wet snow on nearly fully-leafed trees began to weigh down and snap the trees. Conditions only worsened overnight with near constant thunder and lightning for nearly 12 hours. The heaviest snowband set up across the northern suburbs of Buffalo in Erie County Thursday evening, then drifted south to the southern suburbs around midnight. The band of snow then lifted slightly reaching the City of Buffalo city and eastern suburbs in the wee hours before lifting north across the northern suburbs again around daybreak and eventually to Niagara county Friday morning where it weakened and changed back to rain. Even though plenty of damage resulted already in the first few inches, total snowfall in this event was incredible. Five to eight inches fell in the first phase of the event between 3 p.m. and Midnight, but the snow-to-water ratio was around 6:1, hence the terrific damage to trees and powerlines. The second phase featured slightly drier snow, snow-to-water ratio closer to 12:1 but it piled up another foot in heaviest area in just 4 hours or so. The 22.6 inches recorded at the Buffalo Airport by far exceeded any October record (6??? in 1909???only 4 falls of 2??? or more in 100 yrs in October), but was the 6th greatest snowfall ever at any time in Buffalo! The crippling snows extended well east across Genesee and Orleans counties and into western Monroe county. Scattered power outages and downed trees were reported in Brockport where three inches of the heavy, wet snow fell. To the north, the snows pushed into Niagara County with a sharp cutoff to any damage along a line from Wheatfield to Medina. To the south, the cutoff ran along a line from Hamburg to East Aurora. Governor Pataki declared a State Disaster Emergency in Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties on Friday October 13. President Bush declared the four counties eligible for disaster assistance on October 24. (FEMA-1655-DR). By the beginning of December 2006, nearly $11 million in disaster grants and low-interest disaster loans were been approved. Over 400,000 National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) customers lost power Thursday evening. Full restoration of power was not completed until 13 days after the storm with most regions being without power for about 5 days. Most area schools were closed for the entire week following the storm. One death was directly attributed to the storm. In Amherst, a man was clearing snow in his driveway when a tree limb broke off, fell and crushed him. Fourteen other deaths were indirectly storm-related. This number includes four people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning from the improper use of generators and kerosene heaters. Over two hundred were treated for exposure to carbon monoxide. Seventeen were treated for hypothermia. The seasonal timing and pre-conditions of the event only exacerbated the impacts. Only a couple inches of the heavy snow was needed to bring down the still fully leafed trees. In addition, the area had experienced a wet pattern prior to the storm. The wet ground made it easier for tree root systems to fail. Estimates to remove the debris from the storm is pegged at over $150 million. Over three million cubic yards of debris needed to be cleaned up. Local and State Departments of Transportation were not prepared for such an early storm. Most were still in paving mode and had not prepared their equipment to plow snow. The heavy snow also made driving even more difficult. About a hundred mile stretch of the Thruway was closed. Hundreds of motorists were stranded between Pembroke and Angola. Some of these people were stranded for twelve to eighteen hours. Other transportation issues included motorists not being prepared for winter driving and tractor trailers not using the proper fuel mix for the wintry weather. Most areas initiated driving bans and declared States of Emergency early in the onset of the storm. Daytime temperatures slowly moderated through the next week???around 50 on the 13th, 14th, and 15th then into the upper 50s to near 60 on the 16th and 17th. Overnight lows dipped back into the low to mid 30s. These conditions allowed for a slow snowmelt with relatively few flood issues. Any flood problems that did occur were primarily the result of trees and limbs blocking the normal flow channel. Specific snow total reports received included: Depew, Lancaster and Alden - 24 inches; Buffalo Airport - 22.6 inches; Buffalo (north) - 20 inches, Buffalo (downtown) - 15 inches, Buffalo (south) - 10 inches; Amherst - 14 to 22 inches; Clarence - 16 to 22 inches; Tonawanda - 12 to 18 inches; West Seneca - 14 inches; No. Tonawanda - 6 to 12 inches; Hamburg - 8 to 14 inches; Orchard Park - 8 inches; Batavia -10 inches; Medina - 8 inches; Lockport - 6 to 8 inches; Grand Island (south) - 10 inches; Grand Island (north) 2 inches; Albion - 5 inches; and Brockport -3 inches.
Event Narrative


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All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 1 0 155.850M 0.00K
NORTHERN ERIE (ZONE) NORTHERN ERIE (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 14:30 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 1 0 130.000M 0.00K
NIAGARA (ZONE) NIAGARA (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 14:30 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 0 0 2.000M 0.00K
GENESEE (ZONE) GENESEE (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 17:00 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 0 0 3.000M 0.00K
ORLEANS (ZONE) ORLEANS (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 17:00 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 0 0 750.00K 0.00K
MONROE (ZONE) MONROE (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 19:00 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 0 0 100.00K 0.00K
SOUTHERN ERIE (ZONE) SOUTHERN ERIE (ZONE) NY 10/12/2006 20:00 EST-5 Lake-effect Snow 0 0 20.000M 0.00K
Totals: 1 0 155.850M 0.00K