How Does The Blizzard of 77 Compare to The Blizzard of 22
From the moment that Winter Storm Elliott started to blow into Western New York, so many people started immediately compare that storm to the Blizzard of 1977. This is not unique to the blizzard that smacked Buffalo a few weeks ago, just about every major storm that arrives in Buffalo often receives the same comparison.
When you look at the Blizzard of '77 and the Blizzard of '22, and how these two winter storms impacted Western New York, there is little doubt that the Blizzard of '22 will go down as the worst winter storm in Buffalo's history.
How Bad Was The Blizzard of '77?
According to reports from the National Weather Service, at its worst, the blizzard brought daily wind gusts that ranged from 46 to 69 mph, and up to 100 inches of snow fell in some areas. Lake Erie, which was frozen during the storm, was covered with a lot of deep and powdery snow, which was a direct contribution to the snow that blew into the region. The winds pushed some snow drifts to be anywhere between 30 and 40 feet tall. In contrast to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario was not frozen and had very little ice coverage, which contributed to several feet of lake effect snow in Northern New York.
There were a total of 28 storm-related fatalities reported during the 5 days the storm was active. 23 of those who died were in Western New York, while the remaining 5 deaths were from Nothern New York.
Does The Blizzard of '22 Stack Up?
The weather conditions that led to the Blizzard of '22 couldn't be more different than what caused the 1977 storm. An extratropical cyclone, which at times was called a bomb cyclone, brought strong wind gusts that were equivalent to a class 1 hurricane. Due to the fact that Lake Erie had virtually no ice coverage, those winds subsequently kicked off a record lake-effect snowstorm that dropped more than 50 inches of heavy lake snow on Buffalo. According to CNN, Buffalo had complete whiteout conditions for more than 37 straight hours.
When the storm was finally over and Buffalo was able to shift into recovery mode, officials reported that 47 deaths were caused by the storm in Erie and Niagara County alone. The Associated Press pegs the continent's impact of the storm to have caused more than 100 deaths in total and to have contributed to more than $5 billion in damages.
Was the Blizzard of '22 Worse?
Everyone I have spoken to that was alive during the Blizzard of '77 agrees that the '22 Blizzard had a far worse impact on Buffalo. This seems to be true due to the fact that even historians from the Buffalo History Museum are seeking items from people to preserve the historical nature of the storm.
As bad as the blizzard was, there was also plenty of local heroes who jumped in to help save lives, and that's why Buffalo is the City of Good Neighbors.