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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

From space, the bright glow of lights outlines the dark expanses of the Great Lakes at night. Just as in other places, the artificial light here attracts the migratory birds flying through the Niagara River corridor. Then it disorients them. Often it kills them. “These birds are essentially in the midst of an ironman event – they can’t afford distractions,” sai…

Niagara County lawmakers are opposed to a state bill that would declare New York State a "sanctuary state" for immigrants living in the country illegally. County legislators unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday in opposition of the "Dignity for Immigrants in New York State Act." The act, which state lawmakers have not voted upon this year, would bar law enforcement…

Crime

A 17-year-old male driver was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center late Tuesday following a single-vehicle crash on Grand Island, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said. The victim, whose name was withheld, was traveling on Staley Road at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday when his vehicle went off of the road and struck a tree, sheriff's officials said. The drive…

Weather

Severe storms have inflicted damage across the Midwest this week. Some could affect upstate New York by Thursday. There is even a small risk of a tornado, the Storm Prediction Center reports. Western New York will find itself in the warm sector of a storm system centered over the western Great Lakes for a period of time on Thursday. While that will bring warmer te…

Local News

The long wait for an unseasonably warm day in Buffalo is coming on Sunday. Forecasts show parts of Western New York – including the official record-keeping station at Buffalo Niagara International Airport – is expected to flirt with 80 degrees. Buffalo's streak without an 80-degree day to start the year is the longest since 2003. That year, it took until June 17 to m…

Local News

Rare mid-May snowflakes are possible overnight and early Tuesday across some of the higher elevations of Western New York, the National Weather Service said. Metro Buffalo will be spared but more rain, patchy fog and temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal are expected. The chilly, damp weather is being generated by a core of cold air associated with low pressure …

Environment

More than 2,200 volunteers are expected to sweep Buffalo Niagara's shorelines at 60 separate sites this weekend to collect trash and clean up the landscape. The 14th annual shoreline sweep is part of a host of activities for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Weekend that kicks off the 2019 water season. The sweep runs from 10 a.m. to noon. A full list of sites is posted on…

Local News

An anchorage arm required to operate the Black Rock lock failed Thursday during preparations to open the lock for the upcoming navigation season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. Corps of Engineers said work to repair the faulty arm on the downstream gate to the lock will likely continue into next week. Officials said repairs were done over the winter to th…

Weather

Buffalo already has the 2018-19 big city snow title in the bag. So, it must be resting some snowflakes until next season. Elsewhere around the country? Flakes were still flying in nearly a dozen states. The University of Colorado Boulder's spring commencement ceremony was shortened Thursday – by a snowstorm. The outdoor event was dubbed "snow-mencement" and gra…

Weather

Your backyard's muddy and you can't mow the lawn. Lake waters bulge on area shorelines. Sewage overflows abound. Blame it on the rain. Nearly 1 inch more came late Thursday, overnight and into early this morning. More is forecast on Mother's Day, too. That precipitation – officially, 0.97 inches as of 8 a.m. Friday at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport – ma…

Buffalo

Buffalo RiverWorks and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper are taking Buffalo’s water renaissance party upriver. RiverWorks' developer Earl Ketry, Waterkeeper’s Executive Director Jill Jedlicka and Amanda Mays, the regional director of Empire State Development, met at RiverWorks on a sultry Thursday afternoon and announced a collaborative multimillion-dollar waterfront access a…

Environment

World Migratory Bird Day is Saturday. By the looks of it, flocks of birds arrived at Niagara Falls a few days ahead of time to take in the sights – and ample fish. Gulls, some of which may be year-round residents, were observed in numbers too big to count by sight in the Niagara Gorge and around Niagara Falls State Park this week. It's one of Western New York's mo…

Environment

On Sunday, the water temperature at Buffalo Harbor went from 32 degrees to 33 degrees. So if you're not a fan of seeing an icy Lake Erie in May, that comes as good news: The ice is melting. But look at the Buffalo Harbor or the Niagara River, however, and it's apparent the remnants of winter won't vanish overnight. Ice floes inundate the harbor. Chunks of ice float a…

Local News

We are the national snow champions. Probably. With the calendar about to turn to May, Buffalo has a virtual lock at besting arch-nemesis Syracuse in seasonal snowfall for the first time since 2002. In doing so, Buffalo also will capture its first Golden Snow Globe award for recording the most snowfall of any U.S. city with a population over 100,000. That also mean…

Crime

The conviction of a Chautauqua County man who was the state's first person prosecuted in 2013 under New York's SAFE Act was overturned Friday by the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division in Rochester. The appellate judges unanimously reversed the conviction of Benjamin M. Wassell for violating the SAFE Act on grounds that then-state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman…