Last week, a cold front swept the nation that broke record numbers. On Tuesday (November 18), the National Weather Service reported that at least one city in all 50 states hit 32 degrees or below, including Hawaii. The same morning, the NWS reported that about 50% of the United States had snow on the ground.
At the center of all the commotion is Buffalo, NY. Tuesday morning, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown declared a state of emergency, which banned all vehicle travel excluding emergency vehicles. Over a 13-mile radius of Interstate 90 and a 37-mile radius of Interstate 190 was shut down. Snow began to fall and before you know it, we’re looking at a Winter Wonderland. This week, Buffalo experienced nearly 6 feet inches of snowfall. It’s predicted that the city is anticipating about 3 more feet over the weekend. This Buffalo Blizzard has claimed at least 7 lives. Most of the deaths were the result of people being trapped in cars or succumbing to health conditions that were exacerbated by the freezing weather and lack of access to healthcare facilities.
So what factors really makes this a crisis?
- It was unexpected. It seems that the temperature dropped almost overnight.
- Time is compressed. Things are happening fast, which elicits quick action on the part of city officials. The top priority should be keeping residents safe and warm.
- There is much ambiguity and uncertainty. While scientists and weather experts can monitor and snowfall and current temperatures, there is ultimately no way to predict how long the snowfall will last or how big of an impact it will have in the end.
- Nothing is local. Although Buffalo seems to be the city most affected by the cold weather, temperatures are dropping all across the United States.
- There is intense media scrutiny. A blizzard occurring is one thing. But when the blizzard begins claiming lives, the crisis becomes much more serious requires immediate action.
My advice to everyone is to stay inside and stay warm! Also, keep up with the news and weather reports regarding your area. Conditions may get worse and they may get better. And for those in Buffalo, there are 49 other states that have your back. They don’t call us the United States for nothing.