SPRINGVILLE—Families were bundling up in layers of clothing and making sure extra blankets and water bottles were stocked in the car over the last two weeks, as Old Man Winter hit with a vengeance over the holidays.
Social media was saturated with reports of whiteouts, copious amounts of snow, freezing temperatures and power outages. Winter weather advisories and warnings have been coming in waves, with even more alerts sent out recently on Tuesday, Jan. 2 warning of blizzard-like conditions, slippery roads, high winds, below zero wind chills and additional snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches to be expected. So far, the majority of the municipalities in the tri-county area have seen several feet of snow.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook notice on Tuesday, Jan. 2, noting that, “dangerously cold wind chills of colder than 25 below zero are possible Thursday night through Saturday” for Cattaraugus, Wyoming and Southern Erie counties.
National Fuel customers were asked in a press release to dial back their thermostats by five degrees on Jan. 1
The release states the, “... company is faced with natural gas deliverability concerns in five New York State counties that make emergency procedures necessary. Due to this temporary system interruption, the short-term availability of natural gas supplies is making it necessary for National Fuel to enact specific measures to manage the situation and provide gas supplies to its customers to the fullest extent possible.” The five counties were identified as Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany.
The request has since been called off, as the company was able to fix the issue at its transmission facility. The company thanked its customers for abiding by the request, noting the cooperation allowed National Fuel to quickly fix the issue.
Power outages have been affecting the area as well, with a report of 21 active outages and 5,794 customers affected on Wednesday, Dec. 27. Sardinia residents have also been reporting instances of “brown outs” on social media as recently as Monday, Jan. 1, with electricity flickering on and off and their lights dimming.
The wacky weather has also caused an amount of accidents, but with little to no reported injuries. A notable recent accident took place on Dec. 21, when an 18-wheel dump truck loaded with salt rolled over on Route 39 in Sardinia, spilling half of its load, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries and the road was closed for several hours as a result. The Chaffee-Sardinia Fire Department remained on the scene until the roadway reopened.
The weather forecast, as of Jan. 2, is calling for: Thursday, 11 degrees high and -4 degrees low; Friday, 1 degree high and -6 degrees low; Saturday, 5 degrees high and 2 degrees low; Sunday, 23 degrees high, 18 degrees low and Monday, 32 degrees high and 29 degrees low.