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Neighborhood dump

Wednesday's wind storm coincided with trash day in my neighborhood. The combination of wind and trash is never a positive one.

Debris was strewn throughout the neighborhood. Large boxes, coffee cans and even some toys were scattered about. A recycling box, turned over, lie in the street, and I wondered how far it had traveled before it came to a stop there.

One day after near hurricane-force winds whipped through Western New York, how's it look in your neighborhood?

--John F. Bonfatti

A Mighty Bellow

Ever been inside an accordion?

No, I never have either, but I imagine it would be very similar to being in my house this morning as the wind storm bored across the area.

I live in one of those old, drafty city houses, with ancient windows. To keep the gas bill down, I shrink-wrap the inside every winter, and when those kinds of weather fronts pass through, the plastic heaves and shudders rhythmically.

The effect is enhanced by the thicker plastic covering my no-longer-functioning fireplace, also intended to cut heat loss and heating bills. It slaps in and out with a more pronounced “thwack.” All in all, the house was hoppin’ this morning.

Then I noticed how much cooler it had gotten in the room and winced as I imagined my furnace struggling to keep the place warm. Then I winced again as I thought about my next bill from National Fuel.

- John F. Bonfatti

Batten Down the Hatches

Temperatures across Western New York were solidly in the 40s today. But a gentle January day will turn ferocious later tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for the early hours of Wednesday, when a cold front swings across the area. Periodic gusts could exceed 60 mph, while sustained winds are projected to be between 30 and 40 mph.

The weather service says the greatest threat would be downwind of Lake Erie, from Buffalo to Rochester. Those high winds are expected to remain through most of the daylight hours.

-- John F. Bonfatti

A brief respite?

Temperatures will still be below freezing today, but forecasters see a window of warmth Sunday and Monday.

Temperatures Sunday will be near freezing, while Monday's high temperature will be around 40 and Tuesday's around 42. We haven't had a 40-degree reading in nearly two weeks.

Enjoy it while it's here. Temperatures are forecast to drop nearly 20 degrees from that high erarlier in the day to Tuesday night, and it looks like high temperatures will struggle to get past freezing much of the rest of the week.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Rocky Afternoon Commute

The afternoon commute will be a tricky one for most in the Buffalo area, thanks to heavy snow and aggressive winds.

Snow was falling pretty heavily in downtown Buffalo early this afternoon and radar showed it being enhanced by lake effect snow off Lake Erie. The Weather Service forecast calls for the winds to shift the snow south into the Southtowns late in the afternoon or evening.

The forecast was only for 1-3 inches of snow in the metro area but blowing snow makes it seem pretty certain that your commute home will be longer than usual.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Lake Effect Lashing

The lake effect band that pretty much hovered all day Sunday over the northernmost parts of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, far southeastern Erie County and northern Wyoming County was still working Monday morning.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, some 17 inches had fallen in Perrysburg; no update was posted this morning, but that's likely to be up at two feet or more. South Dayton and Stockton both received 14 inches, according to snow spotters.

That lake effect band has moved a little north this morning, with activity focused on far southwestern Erie County. It's also not as large, and the snowfall not as vigorous. National Weather Service forecasters believe that  band will move through the county from south to north during the day, leaving a couple of inches of snow as it moves through.

More impressive is the lake band that continues to produce heavy snowfalls off Lake Ontario in Oswego County. Two spotters in the City of Oswego measured 34 and 30, the latter reporting that 15 inches had fallen in seven hours!

-- John F. Bonfatti

A tip of the hat from Toronto

The sun may be shining now but everyone coming in from the streets of downtown has been talking about the wind today: Turning back from walks. Fighting to open doors facing the gusts. Hats lost. Cheeks freakishly rosy.

So it was great to have someone pass along this story from the Jan. 10 Toronto Star, which is all about how cool (not cold) Buffalo can be, with NO mention of snow and only passing reference to the city having major sports teams.

Leave it to our neighbor to the also-wintry north to see beyond the stereotypes to the warm heart beating in this still-interesting city. After all, everyplace has weather of some kind. It's what you do after you catch up with your hat that says who you are.

--- Melinda Miller

Barren ground

Even though there was snow in the air Monday, none of it really stuck to the ground in Buffalo.

Sunday was the eighth straight day there was no snow on the ground in the city, which is unusual for mid-January.

But our recent period of bare ground is nothing compared to what was happening around this time last winter. From Dec. 6, 2006 to Jan. 18, 2007, there was only one day with measurable snow on the ground. One inch was recorded on the ground on Dec. 27.

Makes you glad you didn't buy that snowblower this year, doesn't it?

John F. Bonfatti

Loud storm

Did anyone get any sleep last night?

All that racket from the the howling winds whipping up the rain and smacking against the windows, woke me up every 15 minutes. I seriously thought my bedroom windows were going to crash in at any moment. (Can't get the sound of glass shattering during the Big October storm out of my head.)

   If the pounding rain wasn't enough, there was also the beeping of the electrical appliances as the power went off. Then on. Then off again. Then on again. The back-up battery in my clock radio apparently was a dud because the time was flashing at 12, 12:01, 12:02, 12:03 ...

Man, what a long night.

At least when it snows in the wee hours of the morning, it's quiet. Eerily quiet, but quiet nonetheless.

-- Susan LoTempio

Spring fling coming to abrupt end

   It's back to cold reality tonight … that is, more-typical January weather.

   After two strangely warm days, the wind will kick up, bringing rain and possible  thunderstorms. Temperatures will drop into the 40s from Tuesday's record high of 66 for Jan. 8.

   Tuesday's low was 54, 11 degrees above the previous highest low temperature for the date … 43 degrees in 1937.

   Showers will diminish Wednesday morning but winds will increase to 30 mph, gusting up to 50 mph by afternoon, before tailing off to 15 mph at night. Temperatures will fall into the 20s later.

   It certainly was nice while it lasted. We hope you enjoyed it. 

   -- Tom Buckham

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