It came. It snowed. It left.
Advance winter storm forecasts cautioning the whole of Buffalo Niagara to brace for its first real blast of wintry weather proved not to have been over-hyped. It was neither a monster, nor weather to be trifled with for the first time out of the gate this season.
Residents in most areas of the Buffalo metro area awoke Wednesday to find a picturesque 4-to-7-inch blanket of snow etching the entirety of the landscape – trees and rooftops, light poles and mailboxes – in a thin outline of white.
“It’s really pretty,” noted Dan Kelly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Really pretty, but also really heavy. That was thanks to a high concentration of water in those snowflakes.
“Temperatures were just marginal, right around freezing – 32 degrees,” said Aaron Reynolds, Weather Service meteorologist. “It just makes for a wetter snow, a heavier snow.”
When the final tallies were made Wednesday, Buffalo Niagara International Airport picked up 4.5 inches of snow. That seemed to be about the middle-of-the-pack as snow spotters from around the area relayed their totals to the Weather Service.
Glenwood, at 8.5 inches, topped the list in Erie County. Other places near Colden registered 7 inches. Reports on the higher end in Erie County also included East Aurora, Swormville, Orchard Park, Boston and Blasdell at 6 inches; and Akron, Tonawanda and Williamsville, 5.
Totals were slightly less in Niagara and Orleans counties, but higher in areas of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Wyoming counties, including Perrysburg, Napoli and Warsaw, which tied at the top of the list at 9 inches.
Boreas, as the storm was named by the Weather Channel, wimped out a little bit on its duration in Buffalo Niagara. The winter storm warning that was supposed to last through 4 p.m. Wednesday was dropped just minutes before 5 a.m.
“It was a little bit on the light side,” Reynolds said of the storm, “but, it was about what we thought it was going to do.”
The storm, which originated in the West last weekend, was blamed for 11 deaths nationwide – five in Texas – but failed to produce the “all-out gridlock” feared by some Thanksgiving travelers in the Northeast.
Mostly a rain-event along the Eastern Seaboard, the storm resulted in about 250 flight cancellations at East Coast airports, mainly at Newark, Philadelphia and New York City.
Remnants of the storm, most notably winds on its backside, might produce breezy enough gusts to ground floats in today’s 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, despite the fact that the center of it has already advanced toward Newfoundland, Canada, according to late Wednesday evening national reports.
Back in Western New York, the wintry wonderland left behind by Boreas has snow lovers, itching to get out and enjoy it, ready to do so. With a base now in place, the ski slopes south of Buffalo are scheduled to open.
At Kissing Bridge in Glenwood, the natural snow was the icing on the cake for Wednesday’s opening day. About 7 inches of snow fell on top of the 24-inch base that was created on Holly, an intermediate slope, during several days of snowmaking.
The hours preceding Wednesday’s noon opening were filled with last-minute tasks that include wrapping padding around the bases of lift towers and putting up signs.
Mark Halter, Kissing Bridge’s president, said two were opened Wednesday, and then closed today for the Thanksgiving holiday. Kissing Bridge will reopen Friday.
Last year, the season opened the day after Christmas and ran through the day before Easter. “I don’t think I can recall when KB ever opened prior to Thanksgiving,” said Halter, who’s been there 35 or so years. “If this is not a record, it’s close to one.” Holiday Valley in Ellicottville opens Friday.
This Thanksgiving Day in Buffalo Niagara is shaping up to be partly sunny with highs only in the upper 20s.
There’s a chance of snow, mainly before 9 a.m. today, and some snow showers likely early Friday morning in metro Buffalo, but no real threat for any more measurable precipitation until about Sunday, according to weather forecasters.
Some more snow is possible in the higher elevations of southern Erie and Wyoming counties.
Temperatures will start to moderate here a little bit over the weekend with daytime highs on Saturday and Sunday forecast to be in the mid-to-upper 30s, according to weather service reports.