So where does this one rank?
It’s tempting to say, “This is the worst storm since ... ” but we won’t really be able to say until it’s all over.
While we wait, and with as little scientific basis as possible, here is a list of ten of the region’s top weather events in slightly more than a century.
10. The Ice Storm of 1976. It hit in early March and caused tens of thousands to lose power for days. It would be even more memorable if not for what happened 10 months later.
9. The Blizzard of 1993. Not much of a storm really, but remembered because it came in mid-March with winter almost over and carried the rare “blizzard” classification.
8. The St. Patrick’s Day storm in 1936. That storm dumped 19 inches of snow on Buffalo, in mid-March. The snow was so deep and heavy that by midafternoon, streetcar service had ceased, according to the National Weather Service.
7. January 1985. The storm that launched a zillion six-pack references, thanks to then-Mayor Jimmy Griffin’s memorable advice, and closed some schools for days.
6. December 2001. It was absurd how much snow fell in such a short time period: 25.2 inches in one 24-hour period.
5. November 2000. The snow started to fall at the worst possible time and led seemingly everyone who was downtown to think at the exact same moment, “I think I’ll try to go home,” leaving thousands stranded and/or sleeping under their desks.
4. December 2010. Equal parts devastating and weird. Draw a line from Lake Erie through Cheektowaga. Everyone north of it was untouched. Everyone south of it got creamed. Thousands stranded on the Thruway led to reforms that should prevent it from happening again.
3. The “white hurricane,” from November 1913. Six Coast Guardsmen lost their lives in Lake Erie, off Buffalo, while trying to warn others about the 80-mph winds that created 35-foot waves in the lake. An estimated 240 people lost their lives along the Great Lakes.
2. The October Surprise, 2006. Even while it was happening, it was hard to believe it could happen. It was largely a Northtowns event, and the effects can still be seen in neighborhoods where trees have never come back.
1. The Blizzard of ’77. The Rose Bowl of storms; the granddaddy of them all. Had schools not been closed on Thursday and Friday, before THE blizzard hit, the storm to end all storms in Western New York would have been even more catastrophic.