Blizzard Survivor

Buffalo Blizzard: Observations from Someone Who Lived Through It

It’s amazing how helpless some people are and oblivious. People in an area known for blizzards, with a blizzard in the forecast, were driving around without winter jackets and survival gear. They didn’t have shovels or blankets in the car. The roads became impassable and gridlocked. People panicked, and some people froze to death. The government essentially told people, “You’re on your own. We can’t help you”.  Emergency services couldn’t get through to everyone.

Lake effect in Buffalo cripples the region with snow.I live in a suburb just south of Buffalo, New York. Obviously, we are used to snow. We live in what’s called the lake effect snow belt, and getting 150 inches of snow in a year is not unheard of. 

In November 2022, we got a freak storm that broke the NY state record for most snow in a 48-hour period. It was snowing at 6 inches per hour for about 40 hours. We got 80 inches of snow. Yes, 80 inches!

People were snowed in for about 4-5 days. It was physically impossible to leave your house because the snow wasBlizzard in buffalo so thick and heavy. They needed payloaders to come to dig out the streets. The municipal town plows couldn’t overcome it.  All in all, since it was mostly focused on the suburbs, nothing unusual happened, people were used to it, and everyone behaved. Some neighbors ignored their snow and let it pile up and needed to be dug out by tractors.  Others, like myself, spent a considerable amount of effort to keep up with the snow and keep the driveway clear.

Fast forward about 1 month. We got a widespread blizzard hitting all of the region. The city of Buffalo and all its suburbs got hit. There was 4 days’ notice of the storm coming, and yet 40+ people died, and there was mass looting in the city.  Yes, you heard that correctly.

Caught in the snow storm in BuffaloIt’s amazing how helpless some people are and oblivious. People in an area known for blizzards, with a blizzard in the forecast, were driving around without winter jackets and survival gear. They didn’t have shovels or blankets in the car. The roads became impassable and gridlocked. People panicked, and some people froze to death. The government essentially told people, “You’re on your own. We can’t help you”.  Emergency services couldn’t get through to everyone.

In my observations, situations like this bring out the best and worst in people. Many people sheltered others and helped their fellow man. For every good deed, there was probably a person looking to exploit the situation. As soon as the government broke, and even though everyone knew things would be back to normal in a couple of days law and order broke down, and looting began. Many stores in the city were looted and destroyed.frost bite setting in on hands People weren’t looting for food or essentials. It’s the same story of looting for beer, cigarettes, TVs, etc. They did it because they could and thought they could get away with it.

It once again proves what many of us think, the unprepared and unthinking are all around us.  Most everything can be avoided by just simply thinking and planning ahead and being prepared. Unprepared and evil people are sometimes your biggest threat

Peter, Buffalo Resident


-Edited for content and length.  Names changed to protect identities.

After any disaster, you have organizations that struggle to help, ordinary people stepping up in big ways to help others, and you have opportunists.  Disasters bring out the best in some and the worst in others.  For every story of looting, there’s a story of someone going above and beyond to rescue others and keep them from certain death.

Prepping provides you the opportunity to be ready for the disasters you face.  It also puts you in a position to help others.  You might even save a life or two along the way.

If you do think you might one day be snowed in your home, please take a look at our videos on surviving a winter power outage.

4 Critical Rules to Survive A Winter Power Outage How to Survive A Winter Power Outage and Stay Warm

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