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T.J. Pignataro - Buffalo, NY

T.J. Pignataro has been a staff reporter for The Buffalo News for more than 20 years and the environment and weather reporter since 2013. He earned the Certificate in Weather Forecasting from The Pennsylvania State University Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science and holds a juris doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School.


Environment

Piers were submerged this summer along the Lake Ontario shoreline from Youngstown to the Thousand Islands. Lake Erie swamped a breakwater in Cleveland and damaged others at Buffalo harbor. Chicago's beaches were swallowed whole by Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes are abnormally high. That's unlikely to change anytime soon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. T…

Buffalo

The restoration of the Buffalo River forged a unique partnership with private industry, government and a first-in-the-nation cost-sharing agreement involving a not-for-profit organization. Tens of millions of dollars went toward ridding toxins from the river’s sediment and shorelines. Ecological habitat, lost to nearly a century’s worth of industrial degradation, was re…

Local News

One of the National Weather Service's most attention-grabbing weather headlines is coming back to the Buffalo Niagara region this year. Starting Oct. 1, the weather service will have the "lake-effect snow warning" back in its quiver of products, the agency recently announced. The weather service shelved the warning last year in favor or the broader "winter storm warn…

Environment

As the clock ticks toward doomsday for 52 pieces of lead-laced playground equipment in the Erie County parks system, 10 pieces will be saved from the scrap heap, including Cinderella's pumpkin carriage at Akron Falls Park. A tree house slide and cowboy and fire truck climbers will also be spared at Akron Falls. So will the farmer climber at Ellicott Creek Park. They …

Environment

They're coming in greater numbers seeking to suck your blood. Tick populations are on the rise across Western New York, and experts say there are even new species emerging from faraway places as the climate changes. With ticks, come disease. Diagnoses of tick-borne diseases – like Lyme disease – have increased over the decade. Although Lyme cases dipped by 25 percent…

Weather

Strong thunderstorms are expected across Western New York late this morning. Some have the potential to become severe, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters were tracking a line of storms approaching the region from the west ahead of a cold front. Severe thunderstorm warnings were posted across the region. Wind gusts up to 60 mph were assoc…

Weather

For the first month since February, the monthly temperature in Buffalo was warmer than average in July. At an average temperature of 74 degrees, the mercury averaged about 3 degrees warmer than normal. Even so, the statistic wasn't particularly impressive. "It wasn't even in the Top 10," said Tony Ansuini, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "For folks …

Environment

Constructing 50 wind turbines off Lake Erie's New York shoreline would be “devastating” to border security in the region, Rep. Chris Collins said Tuesday. Collins held a news conference outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices in Grand Island to call attention to a proposal from Diamond Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, to build offshore wind turbines in L…

Politics

Rep. Chris Collins, in a rare meeting with reporters since his indictment on insider-trading charges, insisted Tuesday he is in "no rush" to decide on running for re-election, while maintaining his innocence. Collins said he’s still considering whether to run for re-election in 2020. If he does, he said, he would have a "properly funded" campaign. "It's still July of…

Crime

A Town of Tonawanda driver who crashed into a retirement and assisted living facility in March, killing an elderly woman there, now faces a murder indictment and up to 25 years in prison. Edward Harris, 33, was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and vehicular manslaughter, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said Monday. Harris is accused of driving …

Environment

Summer 2019 has been no year at the beach for some shorelines across Western New York and southern Ontario. Cool, damp weather made June a beach bummer. Record-high lake water levels submerged vast areas of the Lake Ontario shoreline, closing numerous beaches for the season. Pesky E. coli counts have again eliminated as much as a week of swimming at some Lake Erie…

Environment

Don’t scoff, but as for wine, Chautauqua County one day may keep company with Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa Valley. Thank climate change for that possibility. Researchers analyzed the potential effects of climate change on cool-climate wine growing areas in upstate New York, Michigan and Oregon. They found that a warming climate could make Western New York more conduciv…

Weather

A severe thunderstorm watch was posted for all of Western New York through 10 p.m. Friday. Storms began firing up through southern Ontario and the Niagara Frontier early this afternoon and impacted much of the Niagara Frontier with a burst of high winds, heavy rain and lightning. Several severe thunderstorm warnings were in place from about 1:30 p.m. until 3:15 p…

Local News

Pick your poison, Western New York. Bone-chilling cold and blinding lake-effect snow in January? Or, extreme heat in July? Lake Erie meted out weather justice this week in a classic case of "pay me now or pay me later." Exhibit A: Juxtaposed National Weather Service maps from the two months. In January, Erie, Wyoming, Genesee, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus, as…

Weather

The hottest two days of 2019 are expected Friday and Saturday. Heat indices are forecast as high as 108 degrees in Niagara and Orleans counties, away from the influence of Lake Erie. Forecasters at the National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings from noon Friday to Saturday evening for those counties. "Heat illnesses are likely for those spending p…