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Buffalo Gets a White Christmas

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Lake effect snow buried the Buffalo area in a blanket of white Friday.

The National Weather Service reports a foot of snow was recorded at the airport weather station before the lake snows moved south and disbanded. That was well short of the record 20 inches of snow that fell in the Christmas Eve storm of 2001.

The snow was to blame for a 14-car pile-up on the eastbound 90 Friday afternoon between the Depew and Pembroke exits. It tied up traffic in both directions for several hours. In the Wyoming County community of Varysburg, Stacey Chaplin, 17, of Attica and Joel White, 25, of Warsaw were killed when their car went out of control on icy Route 20A.

The Skyway in Buffalo was closed for several hours late Friday because of low visibility from the heavy snow and strong winds.

The heavy snow, combined with last-minute Christmas shoppers, clogged roadways surrounding area shopping malls.

More than a dozen flights were cancelled at Buffalo Niagara International Airport as crews struggled to clear snow from the airport's runway.

"We do have some delays and cancellations," said Sheryl Tyson, NFTA management representative told the Buffalo News. "And the runway went down for about an hour, in order for the guys to catch up with the plowing."

Several Christmas Eve church services were cancelled.

Forecasters said Christmas Day would be relatively snow free throughout the Buffalo area.