BUFFALO, N.Y. — The weather for this Saturday is a pretty typical fall day — temperatures in the 50s, a little rain, and a little bit of sunshine. But as many Western New Yorkers know, things can change in an instant — and did — back on October 12, 2006.
That Thursday 13 years ago felt a lot like fall in the beginning, but then by nightfall, it turned out to be one for the record books.
This weekend marks the 13th anniversary of the "October Surprise Storm" that dumped over 20 inches of snow on Buffalo and even more in the nearby suburbs.
There were still plenty of leaves on the trees, which caught the heavy, wet snow. Soon, the branches caved under the immense weight, taking down power lines as they snapped.
More than 400,000 customers were without power for several days. Some were in the dark for weeks as crews worked to clear downed trees entangled in fallen wires.
Home improvement stores ran out of generators, and extension cords could be seen running from one home to the next as people shared generator power.
The storm was also deadly — 15 people reportedly died around that time, and 200 others were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The landscape of Western New York was also forever changed. An estimated 57,000 trees were destroyed, and since then, groups like ReTree WNY have made it their mission to replace trees that were lost or damaged during the storm.
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