The Buffalo Bills are seeking shovelers after a record-breaking snowfall buried the Ralph Wilson Stadium under 220,000 tons of snow. It usually takes three days to remove one foot of snow from the stadium. Monday’s storm dumped four feet of snow with at least two more expected before Thursday night. The Bills are scheduled to host the New York Jets Sunday afternoon.
Andy Major, the Vice president of Operations for the Buffalo Bills, expects it will take 500 people working around-the-clock shifts to clear the stadium in time for Sunday’s game. The Bills are offering $10 per hour plus game day tickets for anyone who is willing to help dig out the field. With an offer like that they should get numerous volunteers – except that most of Buffalo’s residents are snowed into their houses.
A band of lake-effect snow moved over the Buffalo region early this week. Some areas received six feet of snow. With more in the forecast, Buffalo is in a state of emergency. Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone, no stranger to upstate New York snowstorms, staid that this is the first time he has ever witnessed such an extensive snowfall.
The situation in western New York is much more serious than whether or not a football game can be played. The city is absolutely, literally buried beneath snow. People are still trapped in their houses. Some people were trapped in their cars for over 24 hours until the snow let up. There is no movement of goods or people around the city while attempts are made at snow removal. Roofs and walls of houses have collapsed under the weight of the snow. At least six people are confirmed dead due to the storm.
Buffalo is New York State’s second most populous city. Its slogan is, “The City of Good Neighbors.” The residents have certainly proved themselves good neighbors as they help each other through this natural disaster. Emergency personnel have been working long shifts with little rest, and rescuers are maneuvering around snowdrifts as large as houses to get people to safety or to hospitals. Police officers have delivered emergency supplies such as baby formula, and fire stations have been transformed into temporary shelters.
The city of Buffalo is used to heavy snow, but as much snow fell in a 24 hour period as usually falls in the entire winter season. 5,000 tons of snow have been removed from city streets, but there is still a long way to go before the city can lift the ban on travel. Mayor Byron Brown warns residents to be patient. The police and fire departments have been using 18 snow mobiles to rescue residents trapped in cars or in need of assistance.
Buffalo is not alone. Artic air moved across the Great Lakes picking up moisture from the still-warm waters. The mix of unseasonably cold air with that warm moisture created a lake effect snowstorm much larger than usual. Towns all along the lakes were battered by heavy snowfall. The whole nation had weather issues as 50 percent of states had snow on the ground on Tuesday and almost the entire country, including Hawaii, experienced extremely low temperatures.
If more snow falls as expected on Thursday, the Buffalo region could break the national record for the most snow accumulation in the shortest period of time. It is a truly mammoth storm and historic event. So far, Buffalo residents are determined to get back life back to normal as quickly as possible. Living sandwiched between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as they do, they are experts at snow removal. Will the Bills be able to clear their stadium before Sunday’s game? The Buffalo Bills are seeking extra help after the record-breaking snowfall. Most likely the City of Good Neighbors will rise to the challenge and show up with their shovels.
By: Rebecca Savastio