Nature November 18, 2016
The Epic Snowstorm That New York Will Never Ever Forget
You know all of those funny snowstorm pictures you see online of people opening their front door, only to find that they can see nothing but a tall mound of snow before them? Well… that was Western New York two years ago, more specifically the city of Buffalo. It seems hard to imagine so much time has passed, but it was back in 2014 when this area of our state was affected by a historic snowstorm that’s one we’ll never ever forget.
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It was just two years ago on Monday, November 17th, 2014 that Western New York was hit with a lake-effect snowstorm now known as Snowvember.
The catchy pun-like name quickly caught on through social media with our residents using the hashtag
#Snowvember while posting all their unbelievable experiences during this insane snowstorm.
The storm primarily covered the city of Buffalo, and areas of Western New York were completely blanketed in packed snow.
The sight above is one that can be hard for our brains to digest. The idea of snow deep enough to coat an entire street all the way up to the height of our mailboxes? Mind-blowing. By the time the entire Snowvember event was completed, this region of New York had received seven feet of snow....
Houses remained hidden inside large mounds of snow, leaving thousands of residents trapped inside their homes.
Specifically, our larger towns of Cheektowaga and West Seneca just outside of Buffalo were severely hit with snow. Some of the most outrageous photos we saw come out of this storm were from these two areas.
A mass amount of motorists were stranded on the roads of Western New York, with the state eventually having to completely shut down over one hundred miles of our Thruway.
You know things are bad when plows can't even handle the unimaginable amount of snow we received over the course of several days. The Thruway was closed in both directions, from Exit 46 by Rochester all the way out to Exit 59 in Chautauqua County, and residents were unable to travel even if they actually desired to do so.
Throughout the snowstorms of Snowvember, the majority of roads remained unplowed. Snow plows that were actually able to make it out on the road and handle the intense weather were sent to focus on New York's main roads that were to be used by emergency vehicles.
The first snowstorm lasted from November 17th through the 19th, with an incredible amount of snow hitting the area by Tuesday evening.
The first half of Snowvember began Monday evening on the 17th, piling unbelievable amounts of snow onto the area well into Tuesday night. It was estimated that in most areas east of Lake Erie, residents were receiving roughly four inches of snow per hour on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, some towns had already seen up to four or five feet of snow!
To see a mind-blowing time lapse from November 18th that shows you how intense this wall of snow was, watch the seventeen second clip below:
To make matters even worse, immediately after the first Snowvember snowstorm drowned the region, a second lake-effect storm hit nearly the exact same area with
When it rains it pours... or should I say, when it snows it storms? Ladies and gentlemen, our residents were experiencing an extreme case of bad luck. Mother Nature decided that if Snowvember was going to happen, she was going to make sure that there would be two unforgettable parts to this piece of history. By the time the storm was through, over ten lives were lost, and major structural failures like collapsed rooftops had occurred.
From November 19th through the 20th, New York saw another one to four feet of snow right in the same region.
If you were wondering how this region managed to see roughly seven feet of snow in such a short period of time, this is how. Surprisingly even though conditions were so terrible, this wasn't the worst snowstorm that Buffalo had ever seen. In 1977, the city experienced a five-day blizzard that resulted in nearly thirty lives lost, after many residents remained trapped in their cars or froze to death from exposure.
Just one of the many things that this snowstorm affected? Our beloved Buffalo Bills.
Shown above from footage captured by
on YouTube, you can see that our favorite New Era Field (or what it was known by back then, the Ralph Wilson Stadium) in Orchard Park was completely covered in snow. With a game approaching on Monday night, the stadium even went as far as to publicly reach out for help with clearing out the stadium.
The Buffalo Bills explained that they were in need of help to remove all of the snow from the stadium. The team offered willing residents of New York $10 dollars per hour and game tickets in return for shoveling out snow, nice deal right? Eventually, the team was forced to relocate their game to Detroit.
So, what factors made this lake-effect snowstorm so historically devastating? First let's discuss the wind.
The intense winds remained almost totally constant from the time the first storm began on Monday all the way through Wednesday. This meant that the large wall of snow that was formed was repeatedly hitting the same areas with wind and snow for a considerable amount of time.
Second? The air that was blowing over Lake Erie was the coldest seen that early in November since 1986.
That's right, it had been nearly 20 years since we had seen such frigid air over our lake that early in the year. The immense difference in temperatures between the water in Lake Erie and the air above it created one epic and unstable atmosphere. This combination allowed Mother Nature to create snow more efficiently, covering Western New York in the coldest blanket of snow that we never wanted.
In an ironic twist, while many of our residents are reminiscing over the chaos that was created by Snowvember, areas out in Central and Western New York could possibly be receiving snow this weekend.
For several areas out in Central and Western New York, this Sunday is predicted to bring snow storms to our state. While it's still uncertain how much snow is expected, the prediction has many of our residents remembering the epic snowstorm that rocked this region.
If you never had the chance of seeing what #Snowvember looked like from a bird’s-eye view, then watch this outstanding drone footage captured by
Norris Clifton Creative on YouTube!
Do you remember where you were during Snowvember? Were you affected by this historic snowstorm? If you were living in Western New York two years ago, make sure you share your memorable pictures from the storm with us in the comments on Facebook!
Note: If you’re curious what this winter is going to be like, then read about these Frigid Predictions That You May Not Like About Our Upcoming Winter.