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Off Main Street /

Fooling Mother Nature

It’s one thing to get “punked” by Mother Nature, but quite another to be mocked by an electronic message board.

The bitter, arctic blast that whipped into the region last week and parked itself for an extended stay was not anything that anyone had predicted would happen at the start of this winter season. Still, here we are now, forced to embrace the chill.

But must insult be added to injury in the form of a digital sign that announces the time and temperature from the pedestrian walkway that links parking venues between Buffalo’s tallest building, One Seneca Tower, and Coca-Cola Field on Washington Street? For a while now, the giant message board has been consistently recording temperatures 12 to 15 degree below what is actually registered in the air.

At noon Friday, the sign recorded the outdoor temperature downtown at -16 degrees. It was cold all right, but closer to zero.

Seriously, there is no need at all to exaggerate statistics from this winter. It is already one for the record books.

Let it snow

While some are wont to kvetch about this bitterly cold and snowy winter season that doesn’t seem to want to end, Michele Roberts, a singer and actress frequently seen on local stages, prefers to don it like a fabulous, faux fur coat.

After the twin lake-effect snow storms that deluged the Southtowns with up 70 inches of snow, Roberts was featured in a video parody of the “Let It Go” smash hit song from the Disney movie “Frozen.” Her version, titled “Let it Snow,” has racked up nearly 185,000 views on YouTube and is “dedicated to the strong and resilient people of Buffalo and Western New York.”

“I think we, as Buffalonians, have it written in our DNA to develop a love/hate relationship with the winter weather. I love the snow,” said the native Buffalonian.

“When Ed Healy of Visit Buffalo Niagara and John Paget approached me about this project, I was thrilled. To live in Buffalo means to accept and embrace the cold and the snow as well as the attention we garner from those things,” Roberts said.

She described the video as a great vehicle for letting those from outside the area know how the region endures together and shows its Buffalove.

“It’s only snow! This bitter, face-hurting, wind chills in the -20 weather is not my favorite thing, but it’s only temporary. And just when you think you can’t take any more, spring is here, 30 days and counting,” Roberts added.

Cold shoulder

Speaking of the weather (and who isn’t these days?), any one else notice how our region is not the national center of attention when it comes to talk of relentless snowfall and persistently below average temperatures this season?

Boston, Mass., has stolen our thunder in the snowfall sweepstakes, at least for this season. And even though average temperatures for the month have been lower here than in most cities across the country, the unusual cold in the South has been garnering all the attention lately.

Could this be a turning of the page for Buffalo’s national image for the worst that winter can offer? We still have a few weeks to go, so stay tuned.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil.