Christmas Eve, 10:15 AM
Buffalo's "Merry Christmas Blizzard" is raging, but here in Orchard Park, well south of the city, we've not seen the worst of it yet. Forecasters say our turn will come later this afternoon, when the lake effect band sinks down here.
(For those not familiar with the term, "lake effect snow" it's when cold winds cross a warmer lake, creating snow that can fall at 2 – 4 inches per hour.)
People in the city and the north and east suburbs are seeing snowfall totals measured in feet, with higher amounts in drifts caused by winds in the 40 – 60 mph range, and wind chills of minus 15 or more.
At this point there are NO emergency services in those areas—it's too dangerous for fire trucks and ambulances to venture out. And thousands remain without power because crews can't get out to make repairs for the same reason.
On TV there was a picture that said the proverbial thousand words—a huge snowplow stuck in a drift, unable to move.
I can see the sun peeking through the trees outside my window, but know it's only temporary. By dinner time it's likely to be impossible to see my next door neighbor's house.
We're fortunate in that we are well provisioned and have a generator which will keep the furnace running and the house warm if power does go out. It was installed back in 2013, when I was relying on an oxygen machine running 24/7 to keep breathing.
Winter's "Christmas Gift" will end eventually, but it's hard not to think of the Ukrainian people, many of whom are struggling to get by without power or heat, with no end in sight.