The snow storm that stole Christmas in Niagara

Photo by: Charlie Martin

Over the holiday break, the Niagara Region was hit hard by dangerous blizzard conditions, causing a state of emergency across the region.

Although the entirety of the region was witness to the extreme weather conditions, residents of Fort Erie and its surrounding municipalities experienced the worst of it, with power outages in over 10,000 homes and numerous resident evacuations across highly affected areas.

The blizzard, a two-day affair that began on Dec. 23 with limited pause until Dec. 25, had aftereffects lasting for days, with various residents unable to access heat or power until after Christmas day.

Julianna Farnan, a fourth-year history major living in Fort Erie, is only one of the many residents who experienced some of these detrimental effects.

“Being in Fort Erie, we always get hit with both lake effect and snow coming in from Buffalo, so storms always hit us hard,” said Farnan. “This one, however, was no joke. We lost power on the afternoon of the 23rd and we didn’t regain it back until 9:30 p.m. on the 26th.”

A number of residents experienced similar situations, with some expressing that they have never witnessed such conditions throughout their entire lives living in the region. Those living near bodies of water experienced flooding in addition to the storm’s effects, causing additional evacuations. 

“Over these days we had no power, no heat and very limited food options as well,” said Farnan. “When we would walk outside while the storm was still bad we couldn’t even see down the driveway. Both our front door and back door were completely snowed in.”

Implications of the detrimental storm subsequently caused a change in many individuals’ holiday plans, with residents across the region unable to leave their homes until snow began to clear only days after the blizzard calmed down.

The Hamilton International Airport (YHM) experienced at least eight cancelled flights between Friday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Dec. 24. The cancelled flights took place amongst Swoop, Lynx Air and Sunwing Airlines. Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport cancelled all of its flights on Dec. 23, with the airport remaining closed until Wednesday, Dec. 28 due to post-blizzard conditions.

In addition to Buffalo’s cancellations, the area also experienced a total of 28 deaths due to the storm’s effects. North America as a whole reported at least 50 deaths brought on by the blizzard, with the majority of these individuals being found deceased in their cars.

Although the majority of the Niagara Region has since recuperated from the destructive storm which took place over the holidays, the event is one that locals are unlikely to forget. The casualties which destroyed holiday plans and caused longlasting power-outages has also led to Fort Erie’s current decision to pursue assistance in disaster recovery.

For those seeking updates regarding Fort Erie’s current situation and updates on the status of disaster recovery assistance, individuals can visit the town’s official website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *