By Kellen M. Quigley
Some of the heaviest snowfall of the season hit Cattaraugus County this past weekend, with accumulations of over a foot in most places.
Jon Hitchcock, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, reported Sunday that Ellicottville was buried under about 15 inches of snow, while nearby Little Valley received 13 inches.
These conditions were excellent for skiers and snowboarders on the slopes in Ellicottville.
“Boy, that snowfall was perfect for us,” said Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director at Holiday Valley. “We loved it.”
Eshbaugh said the resort was quite busy over the weekend and the slopes were in great shape, especially on Sunday.
“That deep powder was really nice,” she added.” On its Facebook page, Holiday Valley reported all 13 lifts and 60 trails were open on Sunday.
Along with snow showers, sub-zero temperatures also hit some communities. In Cattaraugus County, Ellicottville’s lowest recorded temperature of the past week was Tuesday at -16 degrees, said Jim Mitchell with NWS in Buffalo.
In a close second was nearby Springville at -15 degrees on Tuesday, the coldest recorded in Erie County.
A wind chill warning issued by NWS in Buffalo on Sunday afternoon was in effect through Tuesday. Wind chills were expected to fall to 35 degrees below zero in Cattaraugus County and “could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” according to the NWS alert.
“Monday it got a little on the cold side, so it wasn’t as busy as we would have liked, but we still had a great weekend,” Eshbaugh said.
“Driving conditions remain difficult in many places throughout the state,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday, “and I am urging New Yorkers to avoid unnecessary travel until further notice as this is not a situation to take casually.” Flash freezing of wet roadways can be caused by falling temperatures, leading to dangerous conditions.
After some icy conditions followed by rain on Wednesday, as well as a high of 41 degrees, some more snow showers were expected to roll through Thursday and Friday along with temperatures down in the mid-teens, perfect for skiers and snowboarders.
“That’s going to get the lake effect machine going,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to snow and it’s going to be cold.”
With the lake effect snow and colder air moving through, Mitchell said the winds could be typical to what we’ve seen so far this season, about 15 to 25 mph, along with temperatures in the teens.
“It’s about time,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty warm stretch since before Christmas, so we’re due. Just making up for lost time.”
That making up for lost time is good news for those planning to hit the slopes this weekend.
“We’re doing well and hoping that it will stay snowy and cold at least through March,” Eshbaugh said. “We’re glad to be able to bring all these people our region to enjoy all of the things we have in Cattaraugus County.”