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Buffalo Digs Out After Heavy Snow

November 22, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ This western New York city was moving again as tow trucks drivers, police officers and snow plows worked through the night to clear roads blanketed by a 25-inch snowstorm.

Abandoned cars have been towed, stuck schoolchildren have been reunited with their parents and a 65-mile section of the New York State Thruway reopened Wednesday morning.

Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello said no injuries or serious accidents resulted from the storm and the approximately 2,500 youngsters who spent Monday night away from home were all safe and sound by Tuesday evening.

``What a difference a day makes,″ Masiello said.

Even so, government buildings in Buffalo and area schools will be closed Wednesday and Masiello warned that the effects could linger. ``We still have a lot of work to do,″ he said.

Perhaps the worst news Tuesday was that the snow may not end. Forecasters reported that, while the city should remain relatively clear, areas of parts of Buffalo and communities south of the city could get as much as 5 inches of new snow Wednesday.

The storm rolled in Monday morning and didn’t stop until the wee hours of Tuesday. It stranded hundreds of people at their places of work and in their cars.

Busloads of schoolchildren found themselves sitting in traffic for as long as four hours before taking refuge in public buildings and private businesses.

``Every single child found a place to be warm, a place to be safe and a place to be cared for,″ Superintendent Marion Canedo said. ``This shows what a great city this is and what wonderful, caring people we have here.″

Jay Pereira agreed. He spent the night in his Federal Express truck and was visited by people who offered him food, coffee and the use of their cellular phones.

``A lot of people turned out to be really decent folks,″ he said.

Prison inmates were enlisted to dig out fire hydrants, street corners and sidewalks. National Guardsmen used Humvees and other four-wheel-drive vehicles to deliver blankets, water and food.

Gov. George Pataki declared a state of emergency for Erie County and the city, making state resources available to help with the cleanup. The snowfall was Buffalo’s third-highest total for any 24-hour period and it brought the amount so far this month to more than 40 inches.

``We hope this is a most thankful Thanksgiving because all of our children are safe and they’re going to have a wonderful holiday with their families,″ Canedo said.

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On the Net:

City of Buffalo: http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us/city/index.html

Live Web cameras: http://www.buffalocam.com and http://www.buffalo.com

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