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The Editorial Board: As the snow season begins, care and preparation are the watchwords

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snow storm aftermath (copy)

A bulldozer clears snow from Plymouth Avenue in February asBuffalo dug out from a snowstorm. The first lake effect storm of the news season is predicted to begin on Thursday. 

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Western New York is well familiar with snow. In fact, it is a common refrain around this time of year, not whether the white, flaky stuff will fall but when, where and how much. Such is the case with Thursday's predicted arrival of the season’s first lake-effect snowstorm.

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of the region, upgraded Wednesday from a storm watch. Snow is predicted to hit in the Southern Tier starting Thursday evening and continue through Sunday for Buffalo, the Northtowns, Batavia and Warsaw; and starting Friday for Niagara Falls. Meteorologists are counting in feet, not inches and urging people to prepare. Think: emergency car kits, blankets, shovels. Better still, stay off the roads.

Businesses should be encouraged to offer remote work options where possible. Spoiler alert: kids vote for a snow day.

Remember the November 2014 “Snowvember” storm that dropped several feet of snow – up to 6 feet in 24 hours – and the loss of lives. A few people died of heart attacks resulting from moving snow or cars and at least another the result of an automobile accident. At one point, between 120 and 150 vehicles were stranded on the Thruway.

The lake-effect snow brought historic amounts through the midsection of Erie County and to the south, while the northern half was barely touched. This week’s snow might prove less choosy, picking a wider range throughout Erie County. Time will tell.

This is good time to remember the 1985 admonition of former Mayor Jimmy Griffin: Get a six-pack and stay home. The roads will be unsafe, if the predicted amount of snow falls. Crews will be busy trying to clear the streets. The spotlight will be on the City of Buffalo, whose residents voiced anger over what they saw as slow removal of snow on several streets in January. Motorists must cooperate by staying off the roads. Follow winter parking rules. Stay home. Be safe.

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