- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo lay all but paralyzed yesterday after a record-breaking early snowstorm whited out the brilliant colors of fall, buried pumpkins and apples and caught this city famous for its wintry weather flat-footed.

At least three deaths were blamed on the storm of heavy, wet snow that snapped tree limbs all over western New York, leaving some 380,000 homes and businesses without power.

A state of emergency was in effect across the region, banning all nonessential travel. Branches and power lines lay draped across cars and houses, and normally busy downtown streets were still, blanketed by up to 2 feet of snow.

“I thought it was kind of pretty but eerie,” said Ann Goff, who walked to her job at a Buffalo supermarket in the middle of the night. “It was scary listening to the cracking of the branches.”

The snow, delivered in a fury of thunder and lightning, blanketed Buffalo and surrounding areas Thursday night and early yesterday. A 105-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway was closed for hours, and food and water had to be delivered by snowmobile to stranded motorists.

Many municipal trucks were still working to remove leaves on Thursday and did not have plows attached when the surprise storm hit.

As workers sawed and hoisted fallen tree limbs full of autumn color, Bitsy Kosovac, 68, of Point Richmond, Calif., tried to trudge out from her Buffalo hotel for a morning walk in ankle-high boots and a light jacket. A foot of slushy snow and the howling wind stopped her before she could get out of the parking lot.

“If I had better shoes, I would,” the Texas native said, trying to turn the storm into an another adventure in her group’s fall foliage tour of Mark Twain historic sites.

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