WILD WEATHER

Mother Nature is taking Western New York on a roller coaster ride by dropping temperatures rapidly. The temperature was a high of 65 in Dunkirk Wednesday with temperatures dropping off to the mid-20s and lower Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, the high temperature was 65 in Dunkirk and 66 in Buffalo on Wednesday. The temperature in Buffalo broke the record for Jan. 30. Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock of the National Weather Service said it is not uncommon for the weather to change rapidly.

“It’s fairly common when you get one warm day in January. It is followed by strong winds and much colder temperatures a day or two later,” Hitchcock said. “When we get these big warmups, it’s followed by cold and wind.”

The wintry conditions and high winds caused a few accidents which slowed traffic. A collision occurred between a school bus and a moving truck at the intersection of Howard and Water streets in the village of Fredonia shortly before 3 p.m. The school bus did not have any passengers at the time and only the driver was on board. Fredonia Police investigated the accident but did not have further details Thursday evening. Fredonia Police also responded to a car off the road. According to Dunkirk Police, they responded to a few minor “fender benders.” Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office also reported several cars off the road with no injuries.

High winds caused problems for two tractor trailers traveling on Route 60. Two tractor trailers jack knifed on Thursday. One tractor trailer was in the town of Gerry when high winds and wintry conditions caused the accident at 10:35 a.m. Domenick Defillipes, 53, of Cleveland, Ga. was traveling north on Route 60 when the accident occurred. According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, heavy winds and atmospheric conditions caused the accident. Route 60 traffic was reduced to one lane for two hours after the incident while the semi was removed.

Another tractor trailer jack knifed on Route 60 in the town of Dunkirk. The incident occurred around 12:15 p.m. and police shut down the road for under 30 minutes while the trailer was removed. New York State Police at Fredonia responded and said the incident was caused by high winds. No injuries were reported.

According to the National Weather Service, winds peaked at 51 mph with gusts of winds from 35 to 45 mph throughout the day. Along the Lake Erie Shore, winds gusts at 62 mph early Thursday morning.

A lake effect snow warning is also in effect for the area until 6 p.m. today. According to Hitchcock, in the most intense band of snow, one to one and a half feet of snow is expected. He said it was hard to predict where the most snow would fall but he said higher elevations and inland from the lake would receive more snow. The lake effect snow will last throughout the weekend.

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