They're calling it the Columbus Day Storm of 2006. It started yesterday afternoon, and continued all through the night into this morning. Apparently in places like Clarence, NY they have upwards of 20 inches of snow on the ground. Snow was falling at the rate of 3-4 inches/hour. We have nothing here in Ransomville. It just started snowing a little bit ago and it's just starting to stick. It's a lake effect snow band off Lake Erie that has moved north and they said will continue to move north through the morning and eventually end up over Lake Ontario.
We had no idea that this was going on. I knew there was a winter storm warning that was issued for overnight, but somehow it didn't occur to me that something like this might happen to this degree. We don't watch TV much, and never listen to the radio in the morning, so we were blissfully ignorant as we started out for work. And the kicker was that we had to get up early, since I had an 8am meeting to get to. We didn't run into any snow until we were south of Lewiston on the I-190. I dropped Ken off at his work in Niagara Falls, and big fat flakes were coming down fast. The further south I went, the worse it got. When I got onto Grand Island I could see that the snow was heavy and sticky. I was listening to the radio by now, and they were reporting travel bans throughout WNY, along with every school being closed. As I travelled down the road my workplace is on, I could see the trees bending under the weight of the snow. There was a cable of some sort down across the road. And when I saw the parking lot, it was nearly empty. I pulled in and went inside. The plant was dark and only the emergency generators were on. Only a few people were there, and the Customer Service supervisor let everyone know that we were setting the phone message to let customers know we were going to be closed today. One other of my co-workers in tech service managed to get in (she lives in Lewiston) and she called our supervisor who was still at home to let him know that we were closed. We left a message for our colleagues in California and split.
Currently there are 300,000 people in WNY without power. The trees still have most of their leaves, so the snow causes the branches to be so heavy that limbs and entire trees are coming down everywhere and cutting power lines. And the Water Authority has no power to their plant (since middle of the night) so they are restricting water usage throughout Erie County. The Thruway is closed from Dunkirk to near Rochester, which is about a 105 mile stretch.
So it looks like winter in Western NY has come a bit early this year!