Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A steady, heavy snowfall throughout the day made for treacherous driving conditions in the City of Lockport and on roads across Niagara County, but the area still fared better than the East Coast.
The storm, predicted well in advance, sent dozens of cars off the roads and prompted some schools to cancel classes for the day. The Lockport School District did not cancel classes, but officials did decide later in the day to cancel all after-school activities.
Niagara County sent home all non-essential personnel at 3 p.m. Friday due to the storm. County Manager Jeffrey Glatz said all county buildings will remain closed through the weekend, but he expected them to reopen for normal operations Monday morning.
A First Student school bus carrying students slid into a ditch along Dysinger Road early Friday afternoon after the bus driver couldn’t determine where the driveway was located. State police reported no injuries from that mishap.
Across the county, the roads began to get bad before the morning commute was over.
Niagara County Sheriffs deputies and firefighters from virtually every county fire district were kept busy racing to the scenes of motor vehicle accidents. There was even a reported snowmobile accident around 4:45 p.m. in Pendleton, off Mapleton Road.
Among some of the more notable accidents:
• Wrights Corners firefighters responded to a two-vehicle accident Friday morning on Lockport-Olcott Road about a quarter-mile north of Ridge Road.
• Wolcottsville firefighters responded to a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Lewiston and Ernest roads just after noon.
• Around 3:05 p.m. Terry Corners firefighters responded to a rollover accident on Gasport Road, north of Lincoln Avenue. The vehicle came to rest in a field.
City road crews were struggling to keep the main roads open as snow continued to fall after 8 p.m. Friday. Highway Supervisor Carter Hawkes said about 20 employees operating 12 pieces of equipment had their hands full.
“We’re doing everything we can do just to keep the hills and the main drags open,” said Hawkes. “We just can’t keep up.”
Hawkes didn’t expect to begin winning the battle with Mother Nature until early Saturday.
“We haven’t done any of the side streets or the alleys yet,” Hawkes noted. “Sometimes it’s just easier to go out after midnight when there’s no cars on the road.”
Despite the treacherous conditions, there were very few snow-related mishaps in the city.
While city employees waged their war with the snow on the streets, residents had the back-breaking chore of clearing their driveways and sidewalks. Some ventured outside several times throughout the day while others opted to wait until the last flake had fallen.
In every neighborhood, the sound of shovels scraping driveways and snow blowers chugging could be heard.
Snow was expected to taper off overnight as the storm continued east, merging with a second storm driving up the East Coast to create a powerful nor’easter that was creating blizzard conditions in some areas of New York state and New England.
Locally, true to forecasters’ predictions, the farther north one went, the higher the snow totals.
According to the National Weather Service, a snow spotter in Youngstown had reported 12.1 inches of snow just before 5 p.m. Friday. Lockport had recorded 9 inches by 3:30 p.m.; Pendleton had 6.4 inches at 3:15 p.m. However, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga had recorded just 3.3 inches by 3:45 p.m.