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SNOWSTORM BURIES SIGNS OF SPRING IN WNY

Admit it, you were happily imagining this would be that rare year when a Buffalo winter dissolves quietly into spring.

Then, ba-boom.

This city's winter weather reputation slapped you back to reality.

It snows here in late March, remember? Even on the first day of spring.

The worst of Saturday's storm hit Niagara County, where nearly a foot of snow fell in some parts. Buffalo and the Southern Tier escaped with about 7 inches.

"Everyone got a good blanketing," said Tom Paone, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The snow made streets dangerously slick, sending cars into ditches and causing a handful of accidents.

Vivian Arricale, 64, of Sloan was listed in critical condition in Erie County Medical Center after an accident at 8:05 a.m. on Southwestern Boulevard near Reserve Road in Orchard Park.

Town police said an eastbound vehicle operated by Renato Leo, 47, of Blasdell skidded out of control and crossed into the other lane, striking the Arricale vehicle.

In the Town of Tonawanda, Police Officer David Farrell had stopped his patrol car on the shoulder of the Youngmann Highway ramp to the I-190 to help drivers stuck in the snow when a tractor-trailer struck his car.

Farrell was treated at the medical center for broken ribs and a cut on his head. No other serious injuries or charges were reported in the accident, which occurred at 12:30 p.m.

Heavy ice on power lines and downed lines from fallen trees caused scattered power outages, according to Niagara Mohawk and New York State Electric & Gas.

The storm dumped snow and sleet on much of upstate New York but is likely to taper off today, with no more than 2 inches of snow predicted, Paone said.

The start of the work week will bring with it similar conditions as a warming trend begins creeping its way northward. By the end of the week, temperatures are expected to reach as high as 50.

For the record, 70 inches of snow have fallen since October. The Buffalo area usually averages about 93 inches.

"February was incredibly dry," said Paone. "But we more than made up for it this month."

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