Last year featured two of the absolute worst snowstorms that Western New York has ever seen.

The November lake effect snowstorm of 2022 dropped six feet of snow in areas like South Buffalo, Orchard Park, West Seneca and Hamburg. It crippled the region for over a week, with crews still working to clear snow during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Just four weeks later, we had to deal with the worst blizzard in the region's history.

The Christmas blizzard dropped 3-4 feet of lake effect snow and caused undrivable conditions for multiple days. Deaths were confirmed in the storm and caused all holiday plans to be canceled. Buffalo hopes to never have to deal with anything like that again.

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Snowvember in 2014 was also a legendary storm in November of 2014, but as awful as those storms were, there was nothing quite as unique as the October Surprise Storm of 2006.

On the afternoon/evening of October 12th, snow started to fall in Western New York, which started to crack the branches on trees. That's because it was so early into fall, that nearly all the trees still had leaves on them.

By nightfall, the cracking branches could be heard every few minutes and power started to going out all over Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Amherst, the worst areas of the storm.

Green and blue lightning could be seen. It was called "thundersnow," which is a rare event, even for Buffalo. Meterologists called this lake storm Aphid and said that this was likely a once in a generation storm for Western New York. Forecasters didn't even know the severity of the storm until the morning of, which by then it was too late to prepare (hence the name of the storm).

Nearly 23 inches of snow fell that night and morning of October 13th. That shattered a monthly record of snowfall at the Buffalo airport. Thousands of people were left without power for days, even upwards of two weeks.

I was a young teenager at the time and living in north Amherst.

Our neighborhood was off East Robinson. I remember walking our dog around 6 pm and started hearing the cracking branches. It was an eerie feeling.

By 9-10 pm we had lost power and by morning, it was like a cyclone went through our neighborhood. The number of downed branches on the road were amazing. Plows couldn't get down certain roads because of the huge branches blocking the way.

There was a travel ban put in place but hardly anyone followed it, since we were all caught off guard by the storm and left without supplies. We ventured out for food and gasoline, but that would prove to be a huge challenge. No gas stations were opened, since the lost power knocked out pumps. My dad and I actually pulled up to a Sunoco and tried to think of where to go...then everyone pulled in, because they assumed they were open, because they saw our car parked in the lot -- that's how desperate people were for gas and food.

Wegmans was open but only non-perishable food items. They had some candles lit inside the store. Our house got unbelievably cold. We had to bundle up in multiple sweaters to stay warm.

Finally, my dad said enough was enough (after about 24 hours) and went up to Niagara Falls, NY with the last bit of gas he had. It was a risky move because if he couldn't find gas soon, he would run out.

He found gas on his tank showing "E" and tried next for a motel/hotel room. Nobody had any rooms available in Niagara Falls. My dad tried at least seven places, and all were booked.

Finally, he found a place but they had one room that had a phone reservation. That's when my dad offered the motel owner cash upfront and he was awarded the room. The alternative was go back to your cold home (and also hear the unison of outdoor generators sing you to sleep). That's another thing, finding a generator was nearly impossible. They sold out by the morning of Friday, October 13th.

The Buffalo Sabres played in Detroit that night and I remember watching them win in a shootout in the motel room. Ales Kotalik scored the game-winning goal.

The Sabres next played at then the HSBC Arena against the New York Rangers on October 14th. My older brother and I drove all the way to the old Dave & Busters at the Eastern Hills Mall, which had power. The wait for a table was 3 HOURS, but since we had few options, we decided to stay and watch the game there. I've never seen a restaurant that crowded before.

It took 10 days for our neighborhood to have the power restored. That storm really showcased the City of Good Neighbors though. The number of people helping each other shovel and cut branches; the help at stores, the help with stuck cars on the roads, the togetherness of everyone those 10-14 days was truly astonishing.

The October Surprise Storm was awful but out of all the snowstorms we have had (outside of the Blizzard of '77), it has the best collection of stories and tales of human kindness.

Pics from The 2006 Buffalo October Snowstorm

Gallery Credit: Dave Fields

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Gallery Credit: Brett Alan

Southtowns Lake Effect Snow Pictures

Gallery Credit: Clay Moden

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