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Yet Another Brutal Day of Bone-Chilling Cold

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Another day of brutal cold has forced schools across Western New York to cancel classes. Sub-zero temperatures combined with winds gusting to 30 miles an hour have made conditions hazardous.

The closings Thursday and Friday have created a four- or five-day weekend for students and staff because of Monday's Martin Luther King holiday. Some districts have already used up their allotment of five snow days or are close to doing so. That could mean shorter spring breaks later this year.

Power utilities are asking customers to cut back on energy use as the demand hits its peak during this Arctic cold front. Two upstate utilities set records for winter power usage Thursday and officials say they expect Friday to be another record-breaker.

Yet, National Fuel Gas says it is having no problem meeting increased natural gas demand. On Thursday, spokeswoman Julie Coppola Cox said they were anticipating that 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas would be used because of the extremely cold temperatures. On a normal January day, she said, National Fuel supplies about 850-million cubic feet of natural gas to its customers.

"We make sure we have gas in storage that we pull out of underground tanks during these times of extreme cold," Coppola Cox said. "Plus, we've made arrangements for continual delivery on the large inter-state pipeline systems that bring gas to our area."