Lonely vigil at a Noco station on the Buffalo border - The Buffalo News

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Lonely vigil at a Noco station on the Buffalo border

A Lackawanna police cruiser stood sentry throughout last night in swirling winds and heavy snow, blocking traffic into the Steel City on South Park Avenue at its border with Buffalo.

Besides police cruisers, the only other vehicles observed in Lackawanna were snow plows.

A heavy curtain of lake effect snow descended over South Park Avenue just south of Ridge Road heading into Blasdell through the night, reducing visibility to zero and making the roads impassable.

On the Buffalo side of South Park Avenue, there was the occasional vehicle cutting its way though sporadic here-and-gone again pocket of white between roughly 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Meanwhile, gusty winds reduced visibility in the wider-open portions of South Park Avenue between Hopkins and Elk streets to near zero for much of the early morning hours.

Bob Ruper, the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. overnight clerk at the Noco Express station on South Park Avenue in South Buffalo, saw most of them at one point or another – along with a bunch of foot traffic.

Ruper, strangely enough, was a little less lonely than a usual graveyard shift while the Blizzard of ’14 howled outside.

“It’s been busy,” Ruper told a reporter at about 4 a.m. “People have been coming in here all night. Snacks, drinks.”

He recalled one young woman who rushed into the store wearing her pajamas. She bought a bag of potato chips and ran back outside.

Ruper, all night, watched the winds whip snow through the large front windows of the store. He called the scene outside “violent” and a night that he will never forget.

“It’s a postcard from hell, man,” said Ruper. “It looked like everything was sandblasted with snow. It was like painted on.”

“The last time I saw anything like this, I was a little kid.”

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