BUFFALO – A snow storm set for this week has some conditions similar to the Blizzard of 77, according to a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, but this is not likely to be a historic weather event.
While he doesn’t expect the Blizzard of 2019 to match 1977, Dave Zaff, Science and Operations Officer with the National Weather Service, isn’t downplaying the severity of the next weather event.
“We’re going to have temperatures down near zero degrees, 30 or 40, maybe 50 mile an hour winds. You will not be able to get those pretty snowflakes, visually it will look like dust and that can compact very, very easily with sustained winds and you end up with massive drifts that you can’t move very easily,” Zaff told WNYNewsNow.
It is difficult to compare weather events because each is it’s own event, he said.
“Each event is unique so its hard to draw comparisons from one to the other. If you try to say this will be like any particular event, like the Blizzard of 1977, you’re not going to be able to reproduce that because each event is unique” Zaff said.
This upcoming storm will produce some weather like 1977, but not as severe,” Zaff said.
“What we do expect is a lot of drifting snow, low visibility, extremely cold temperatures with this event. It’s going to be a dangerous, dangerous event for anyone outside and particularly anyone stranded outside,” Zaff warned.
“Right now this will get started late Tuesday, (being) strongest over the Buffalo metro area first and slowly work its way south Wednesday and Thursday and Friday,” he said.
For Jamestown, the most impact will be late Wednesday.
He warned people to stay off the roads because of the cold nature of the storm.
“If you have to go outside bring extra supplies, extra water, extra foods, blankets.,” he said.
He cautioned that anyone going outside of urban areas should use extra caution because if their vehicle gets caught in a drift, they may not be rescued for as long as 24 hours.
While there are some commonalities between the 1977 storm and this latest one, there are also differences, Zaff noted.
“Right off the bat there are differences between 1977 and this event. We had a pretty uneventfuk December here,” Zaff said. “For 1977 they had all kinds of problems. There was an oil shortage in Ohio and frozen fruits down in Florida.”
“(The year) 1976 to 1977 was an extremely unusual cold year and very snowy year for much of the Midwest and the Great Lakes region,” Zaff said. “The only thing that’s right now record worthy are the extreme temperatures Wednesday.”