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Students stranded as winter blast hits West Seneca

WBFO File Photo

Dozens of elementary students In West Seneca had to remain in their schools for hours after classes ended when Lake Effect storms dumped more than two feet of snow on the area Thursday.

Administrators in the West Seneca School District said nearly 50 students from two elementary schools boarded buses Thursday afternoon, but those buses became stuck in gridlock traffic due to the heavy lake snows. 

The leader of the West Seneca School District said students who were stuck on school buses Thursday were safety brought back to schools. 

"Once that happened, we had buses stranded on the road," Schools Superintendent Mark Crawford explained

About ten school buses carrying almost 50-students were caught up in gridlock on area roadways during the height of Lake Effect snows. 

"The buses that were close to the schools, fortunately, we had staff that went out to the buses. They walked them safely from the bus to the school," Crawford said. 

District officials halted bus service when conditions became too hazardous, keeping other students in classrooms at West Elementary and Alledale Elementary.  Some students were there until 4 a.m., but the schools provided food and cared for them.

"And all the teachers had remained and many the aides, and they took care of the kids and then they heated pizza and chicken nuggets. The kids watched movies and teachers told stories. Children seemed like they were having a pretty nice time and thought of it as a great adventure," Crawford remarked. "All of the children were safely delivered home."

Crawford  said his staff did "incredible" job in helping the kids.  "I didn't hear a complaint from anybody," noted Crawford.

Two principals and some West Seneca Police helped transport some of the children home early Thursday morning to their families.

Crawford defends his decision not to opt for an early dismissal Thursday explaining the forecast never predicted the snowfall rates. 

"People ask why didn't you close earlier as the snow was beginning -- the simple answer is -- the forecast we received yesterday indicated there would be three to five inches of snow later in the day and it was going to move north," explained Crawford.

The superintendent said he couldn't release children early without parents being home.

The National Weather Service says storms that began Wednesday have dumped as much as 28 inches of snow on areas south of Buffalo.

WBFO's Jay Moran talked with National Weather Service Winter Weather Program Meteorologist Bob Hamilton Friday morning about how much more we can expect.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.
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