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Buffalo Blizzard of 1977
Transcript of Buffalo Blizzard of 1977
The blizzard of 1977 was a deadly blizzard that hit the Western N.Y. state area upstate New York and Southern Ontario from January 28 to February 1, 1977. Daily peak wind gusts ranging from 46 to 69 mph were recorded by the National Weather Service Buffalo Office, with snowfall as high as 100 inches recorded in areas, and the high winds blew this into drifts of 30 to 40 ft. There were 23 total storm-related deaths in western New York, with 5 more in northern New York.
Up to 100 inches of snow covered Buffalo and it caused people to be stranded in their homes and vehicles. The isolation caused suffocation, starvation, and freezing to death. Many vehicles were destroyed by snow plows clearing the roads for safe traveling. This costed at least 6.8 million dollars.
Types of Damage
The average temperature for both November and December was about six degrees below normal. January averaged ten degrees below normal. Snowfall in November totaled 31.3 inches, in December 60.7 inches and through the 27th of January 59.1 inches. There was a persistent snow cover from November 29th. On the 27th of January, low pressure crossed Lake Erie and moved to James Bay in Canada.
During the 5 days that followed, this huge storm system became stalled east of James Bay then actually moved back west over James Bay before finally moving east to the Canadian Maritimes. The storm began on the 28th of January as snow started falling at 5am. As winds freshened from the south ahead of a strong cold front, about two inches of new powder had accumulated on top of the 33 inch snow pack and drifts from previous storms dating back before Christmas. During the morning, the temperature rose rapidly from five degrees at midnight to 26 degrees at 11 am.
This had a impact on the future of Buffalo and surrounding cities by making them more aware and prepared for events like this.
Blizzard of '77
Looting broke out and items stolen included radios and firefighters' clothing from fire trucks, as well as more than $1,500 in medical supplies from a stuck ambulance. Cigarettes, liquor, beer, coffee, meat and refrigerators were stolen from abandoned semi-trailer trucks. There was also looting from factories, stores and homes. Also a fire broke out at Whitney Place and Virginia Street, in the City of Buffalo, on Friday evening. Fire trucks rammed through stalled cars in an attempt to get to the scene and fire hoses were stretched two to three blocks to reach the fire, as that is as far as the fire trucks were able to make it. With the roads being cleared many abandon cars we destroyed due to them being buried under a wall of snow.