By Kellen M. Quigley
Some of the heaviest snowfall of the season swept through Western New York this past weekend, with accumulations of over a foot in some places.
Jim Mitchell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, reported Tuesday that Springville received about 9 inches of snow over the weekend, while nearby Colden was buried under 14 inches.
“It was kind of the opposite this time,” Mitchell said. “The southern part of Erie County actually got less snow because of the wind direction.” He said West Seneca received about 17 inches.
However, these conditions were perfect for skiers and snowboarders on the slopes at Kissing Bridge.
The snow sports destination celebrated World Snow Day on Jan. 20. Although many places were closed on Sunday, Kissing Bridge was open for the first big snowfall of the year.
On their Facebook page, a post on Sunday said 16 runs and four lifts were to be open Monday, Jan. 21 to finish off the holiday weekend.
“Thank you, Mother Nature and our snow making team for putting in the work,” Kissing Bridge posted.
Along with snow showers, sub-zero temperatures also hit some communities. In Erie County, Springville had the lowest recorded temperature of the past week on Tuesday at -15 degrees, Mitchell said, after reaching -6 degrees Monday.
In Cattaraugus County, nearby Ellicottville was even colder, recording -16 degrees Tuesday morning.
A wind chill warning issued by NWS in Buffalo on Sunday afternoon was in effect through Tuesday. Wind chills were expected to fall well below zero in Erie County and “could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” according to the NWS alert.
“Driving conditions remain difficult in many places throughout the state,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday, “and I am urging New Yorkers to avoid unnecessary travel until further notice as this is not a situation to take casually.” Flash freezing of wet roadways can be caused by falling temperatures, leading to dangerous conditions.
The Springville Control Center on Tuesday reported that there were no weather-related accidents or emergencies during over the weekend.
After some icy conditions followed by rain on Wednesday, as well as a high of 41 degrees, some more snow showers were expected to roll through Thursday and Friday along with temperatures down in the mid-teens, perfect for skiers and snowboarders.
“That’s going to get the lake effect machine going,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to snow and it’s going to be cold.”
Because of the elevation increase from the lakeshore moving inland, Mitchell said depending on the wind direction the communities farther from Lake Erie could receive more snow than others.
“This is more of traditional lake-effect, Western New York type deal,” he said. “Springville may be a little bit more favorable for the lake effect this time if the winds don’t shift.”
With the lake effect snow and colder air moving through, Mitchell said the winds could be typical to what we’ve seen so far this season, about 15 to 25 mph, along with temperatures in the teens.
“It’s about time,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty warm stretch since before Christmas, so we’re due. Just making up for lost time.”