We all grabbed our snow brushes and ice scrapers for the first time this season Monday night or this morning, as up to half a foot of snow covered the region.
The National Weather Service reported an official overnight reading of 0.7 inches of snow at its office in Cheektowaga, all from 8 p.m. to midnight, meteorologist Jim Mitchell said.
The snowfall ranged from half an inch to 2 inches in the lake plain with lower elevations, while more rural, elevated locales received anywhere from 3 to 6 inches.
“It may be a little more than we expected in the Southern Tier, but it was about on target,” Mitchell said of the expected snow total.
The unofficial winner of the season’s first snowfall was reported about 4 miles south-southwest of Ripley, in Chautauqua County, where a spotter measured 6 inches.
The next highest unofficial totals were 5.2 inches in Perrysburg, Cattaraugus County; 3.7 in Orchard Park and East Aurora; 3.1 in Hamburg; and 2.4 in Elma.
The first coating of snow isn’t unusual for this time of year.
“We’re about a week early for our first inch of snow, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Mitchell said.
The snowfall was accompanied by an overnight low of 27 degrees, reported at 7 a.m., and temperatures closer to the freezing mark overnight created all kinds of icy surfaces on bridges and overpasses and in area parking lots.
Those icy conditions caused a crash involving more than a dozen vehicles on the ramp from the westbound Youngmann Highway to the southbound Niagara Thruway at about 10:45 p.m. Monday. Town of Tonawanda police reports listed anywhere from 13 to 14 vehicles to about 20.
No injuries were reported in the crash.
Conditions were so icy that when responding police parked their patrol cars on the top of the ramp, some of them started sliding down the ramp, officials said.
“It sounds like it was black ice on the ramp,” Lt. Nicholas A. Bado said.
The snowfall might have been a factor in a fatal accident Monday evening in Pomfret in Chautauqua County.
A 24-year-old Dunkirk woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash when she lost control of her vehicle on snow-covered Route 20, State Police at Fredonia reported.
Lea Genung was pronounced dead at the scene, following the crash, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m.
She was westbound on Route 20 when she lost control of her vehicle, which went into the eastbound lane and was struck on the driver’s-side door by an oncoming eastbound vehicle, according to police reports.
Less dramatic were the numerous cases of slippery pavement causing vehicles to slide off area roads.
North French Road in Amherst was closed between Northpointe Parkway and Niagara Falls Boulevard at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, as crews worked to restore telephone lines after a car struck a pole on North French.
It was uncertain whether the crash was weather-related.
Also, the Niagara-Wheatfield high school and middle school, but not the elementary schools, were closed today because of a power outage.
In the meantime, about 2,500 Hamburg residents were left in the cold and dark for at least part of the night following a power outage reported at about 9:40 p.m. Monday.
New York State Electric & Gas customers in the town and village of Hamburg were affected.
A handful of Orchard Park residents also lost power Monday night. The cause of the outage was not immediately known.