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Snow, Wind Shuts Down N.Y. Schools, Roads

February 12, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Heavy snow and wind gusting to 48 mph closed schools Wednesday in western New York state and authorities restricted travel as the blowing snow cut visibility and caused numerous accidents.

Up to 6 inches of new snow was piled into deep drifts by the wind.

Authorities prohibited unnecessary travel in a half-dozen counties. Buffalo officials closed the elevated Skyway into downtown, a main commuter route.

``I’ve never seen the visibility so bad. It was like a wall of white. I couldn’t even see people’s (car) lights,″ said Beth Rogala, an office assistant who needed 50 minutes to make what is normally a 20-minute trip from her home in Solvay, a western Syracuse suburb.

Scores of schools were closed from Buffalo to Syracuse, about 150 miles to the east.

An additional 6 to 8 inches of snow was forecast in parts of western and central New York.

The snow in New York followed wind-driven snow that created hazardous conditions Tuesday in the Midwest.

Wind up to 75 mph toppled utility poles and blew over at least nine tractor-trailer rigs in Iowa.

``It was a total whiteout,″ said John Tesdahl of Rock Falls, Iowa, who was involved in a wreck south of Kensett, Iowa.

In Illinois, Tuesday’s high wind was blame for power outages that blacked out some 12,000 customers along Chicago’s North Side and in the northern suburbs, Commonwealth Edison said.

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