Don Paul: 15 years later, vivid meteorological memories of ‘October Surprise’ | weather

Snow-covered trees line Bidwell Parkway on October 13, 2006.

Photo of the message file

“Even in Buffalo, where the ability to endure storms is a source of civic pride, few expected a blizzard like this one in mid-October, including those that predicted it.

Don Paul, a meteorologist at WIVB-TV4 in Buffalo, has been working in the region for more than 20 years. “Of all the events I’ve seen here, this storm is causing the most widespread devastation in the most densely populated area,” he said. “It is absolutely a historic storm.” “

On October 14, 2006, the New York Times published a long story about our catastrophic storm that had just passed, including comments from that time. Governor George Pataki, National Grid, Mayor Byron Brown, the National Weather Service, citizens of Buffalo and myself (see above). The storm, which many still refer to as the “October surprise”, is still the most devastating weather event in my 37 years here in Buffalo. It seemed unlikely that it would get this incredibly big when it went into the storm.

Before the rare early outbreak of the lake effect, some snow had been forecast for six to seven days. So far in advance it was thought that the best chances for snow accumulation would be at higher elevations inland Lake Erie, as is normally the case with sea snow in the early season. In the first days of the forecast, the wind direction in the low area could not be determined locally exactly. But the models of that time already projected a deep, unusually cold low-pressure system for the time of year, which was supposed to drop from the north near Lake Superior. Such a low would pump extraordinarily cold air over the warm Lake Erie somewhere in western New York.

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