Winter Storm Continues Destruction and Delays in North Eastby Jana Ritter - Published: 11/21/2014
The severe winter storm that has buried the Buffalo area in snow and shut down part of Interstate 90, is continuing to cause destruction and delays for its third straight day. Many drivers have been forced to stay in the North East region since Tuesday because of the major highway closures and some truck drivers hauling hazardous or flammable materials don’t even have the option of taking alternative routes.
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Even worse for those who were forced to spend the nights on the side of the road because the truck stop parking lots were full. However one truck driver reports the fellowship that has come out of it being stranded together, but knowing they're all in it together. "At least there are enough people here. There's always entertainment, always something to do, always guys to talk to. So it's been pretty good," said truck driver Perry Rowe. "It's been a good experience. We've all been laughing at one another but that's just a tension-breaker because this stuff here, you can go stir crazy." Alexandre Sebastien adds.
But as of Friday afternoon, parts of the I-90 remain closed from North East, Pennsylvania to Rochester, New York. Some major roads, such as parts of the New York State Thruway, were expected to reopen Friday afternoon and some local driving bans are being lifted mainly so trucks can start delivering food to stores and crews can begin removing abandoned vehicles. Erie County crews have the major task of clearing 1,800 lane-miles of county roads even before getting to residential streets.
Motorists are being warned that the road conditions are still very dangerous and not to drive around unless you have an essential purpose.
So far, the storm has counted 13 lives including a 50-year-old man whose body was found in a vehicle in Cheektowaga, New York. 184 Residents of a nursing home in Cheektowaga had to be evacuated because officials believed the roof was ready to collapse under several feet of snow. The Winchester Volunteer Fire Company has been sheltering 40 people stranded in the snow since Tuesday, although fire trucks haven’t been able to leave the station. One medic had to snowmobile over to an urgent call and other volunteers used ATVs to get to a house where the roof was buckling under the weight of the snow.
The storm has also forced the NFL to move Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets from Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium to Detroit's Ford Field on Monday night. The Buffalo Bills have had major problems even getting out of area, with some of the players having to be picked up by snowmobiles and transported to the stadium to meet their bus to Detroit.
The National Weather Service says that if the weather continues to go according to forecast, more than a year’s worth of snow will have fallen in three days.