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Arctic blast cancels schools; officials warn temps could be life threatening

A map depicting New York state with different shades of blue and purple to illustrated the coldest areas. More details on this forecast are included in the body of this story.
The National Weather Service/NOAA Graphical Forecast Predication Map for Friday, Feb 3 at 8 a.m. (generated at 9pm on Thursday, Feb 2). This map shows the production real feel temperatures for Friday morning.

An arctic cold front coming through Western New York Friday through Saturday will bring dangerously cold temperatures. The City of Buffalo is warning that these temperatures could be life threatening to some people and Buffalo Public Schools canceled school for Friday.

Overnight on Friday there will be snow accumulations of one to three inches in the City of Buffalo. According to the National Weather Service, the snow could be heavy at times with winds between 17 to 21 miles per hour, gusting up to 36 miles per hour. The low will be around six degrees Fahrenheit.

In the morning, Buffalonians can expect partial sun, snow showers and a high of nine degrees. The wind chill could be as cold as negative 15. Be prepared for winds between 11 to 18 miles per hour, with gusts up to 43 miles per hour. By nighttime, the low will drop to three degrees, with winds between 9 to 16 miles per hour.

Saturday is going to be another freezing day in the city, with a wind chill as low as negative 10, but a high near 28. Winds will be between seven to 15 miles per hour. By Saturday night, Buffalo will begin to warm up again, with a low around 25 degrees.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown held a press conference on Thursday to warn residents of the dangerous cold. He shared that the city will have warming shelters open and they have placed six electronic signs around the city to warn residents of the cold.

"Some people did not understand the danger of the blizzard of 2022. One of the things that we heard is we need to look for even more ways to get that information out to the public," said Brown. "These electronic signs are another way to get information out for people that might not see it on TV, might not hear it on the radio, might not be on social media, might not have access to computers. We're hoping that these electronic signs are just another way to get this information out to the public."

He added that the messages are straightforward and easy to read.

"Basically, the message is that it's going to be dangerously cold on Friday and Saturday. We want people to be aware of that. And we want people to take precautions," added the mayor.

When asked about the staffing of emergency responders, the mayor stated "well, this is not going to be a blizzard this weekend, this is extremely cold temperatures," explaining that the city is focused on its warming shelters as a response to the cold. He said emergency services will be staffed as normal.

Daytime Warming Shelters open on Feb 3, 2023.
Byron Brown
Daytime Warming Shelters open on Feb 3, 2023.

In addition to school being canceled for Buffalo Public School students on Friday, Saturday Academies and My Brother's Keeper (also on Saturday) are canceled as well. BPS athletes however will still participate in Saturday's Sectional Indoor Track competition at area colleges.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.