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The October 2006 Thundersnow: 5 years later

Photo by Liz Hoerl, from the I Survived the Thundersnow of October 2006 Facebook group photo album.

blog by S.J. Velasquez  • 

It was five years ago today that the crazy October storm suddenly descended upon Western New York, causing major power outages across the region and, subsequently, lots of day-drinking for people stuck inside their homes.

I only remember hearing stories in the days after the storm, as I was on a short backpacking trip in Ireland, completely oblivious to the disastrous weather back home. I’d been studying abroad in England for the fall semester of my senior year at Canisius College, and I’d gone to Dublin for a few days. I didn’t have a laptop or smartphone at the time—HA! Remember those days?—so my only access to the web was when I could stop by an internet cafe and obsess over every missed Facebook update. When my parents’ power resurfaced—they were lucky, as they weren’t without electricity for long—my mom sent me an email with all the details of the storm, telling how members of the extended family slept on floors for days until it was safe to return to their houses. I kind of wish I could’ve been home for this.

I asked some of my co-workers what they were up to when the October storm hit. Here are their responses:

Sam: “I was in Olean. We were fine down there. But then I felt bad as the days went on and people didn’t have electricity or heat. I watched it on tv.”

Chris: “I got the brunt of it. I went home at like 4 in the afternoon on Thursday [Oct. 12], watched a Lexus get crushed by a tree limb right across the street from Christ the King Church on Main Street (Amherst). When I got home, I watched the transformer in my backyard blow up after being struck by lightning. There’s still a burn mark in my grass that wont go away—it’s charred. I just packed up the kids and went to my mom’s house after the transformer blew up. I was without power for one week, without cable for 21 days.”

Ben T.: “I don’t even know where I was. I’m going to text my dad and ask him where i was.” 

Ben K.: “I was living in Allentown, and just got a new cat, so I brought my cat outside to show it snow for the first time.” 

Where were you for the October 2006 storm?

Photo by Liz Hoerl, from the I Survived the Thundersnow of October 2006 Facebook group photo album.

TAGGED: friday the 13th, october 2006, storm, thundersnow

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  1. Britney Buscaglia October 12, 2011 @ 9:59am

    I was in the shower when the power went out at about 10 pm the first night of the storm.  I freaked.  The next day my brother, sister and I watched a tree fall on our garage.

    Britney Buscaglia's avatar
  2. Erin Morris October 12, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Let’s talk about how completely oblivious I was to the whole entire thing!  I left work at about 6:30pm to meet some friends at Elmo’s in Getzville for some wings. mmm wings. While at Elmo’s (and thankfully after the wings were eaten) the power went out.

    We were familiar faces at the bar so after agreeing to come back another day to pay the bill (we were all sans cash) I drove home to Allentown.  The 33 was just about deserted and the sky was green!  I got home, power was on but cable was out, hopped into bed and passed out.

    The next morning my alarm went off and I went to get in the shower. My sister was like…uh…I don’t think you’re going to work today…look outside…

    We were lucky enough to never lose power, and since I worked in Williamsville, I was off for a week!

    Erin Morris's avatar
  3. Janet Devine-Sherman October 12, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    I was right there at the Buf News working in the classified dept. the day it all started. Went home to Tonawanda and had no power. Trees were cracking and breaking all around and power lines were down everywhere. What was I thinking when I shoveled my way to the street and drove to work the next morning. Got stopped by a snarly Buffalo cop who threatened me with a $200 ticket but continued on down to work. Got there to find only 3 other people in the dept. They all left at noon. The rest of the day I covered 5 desks and then stayed till 10PM because the person who takes death notices in the evening couldn’t get it. It was a fun week with no power….and the sounds of generators filled the air. We were not lucky enough to have use of one but we had hot water and was thankful for that. 7 days later our power was restored.

    Janet Devine-Sherman's avatar