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Lake-effect band wreaks havoc on Dunkirk

A mild winter turned sour on Tuesday night when a lake effect snow band came in and dumped upward of 13 inches on the city of Dunkirk and the surrounding area.

“It was lake effect snow at its worst and the band stayed right over Dunkirk,” Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury told the OBSERVER. “As quickly as we plowed, we’d turn around and look and it looked like we never even started. It didn’t stop until about four in the morning and because we had to do everything all over again we issued the travel advisory.”

The travel advisory read: Due to the deteriorating road conditions, there will be a travel advisory in effect for a few hours this morning which will give plows time to clear the streets within the city. Keeping vehicles off the roadway will assist with snow plowing and access for emergency vehicles to travel.

A warning, from the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, expired at 10 a.m. Wednesday for Chautauqua, Wyoming and southern Erie counties. The weather service said between 7 and 13 inches of new snow accumulation could fall in certain areas in addition to wind gusts as high as 35 mph.

“This snow is everywhere,” Woodbury added. “Fredonia is bad, anyone heading to Gowanda had to turn around and come back. We got one of the biggest hits and at just the wrong time.”

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, various councilmembers, including Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver, were receiving texts and calls in regards to the icy conditions that plagued the city.

Woodbury had stated in the meeting that the unusual effect of a thaw and refreeze was to blame for most of that. He had added then that three salters were out working around the clock to get the city cleaned up and safe.

“It was the weather conditions,” Woodbury said. “The drivers did superbly, the equipment did superbly, the mechanics did superbly, it was just at the point and the timing was just terrible.”

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