Wednesday, June 12

Buffalo, NY’s School-Bus-Sized Snow Piles Finally Melt

A full eight months after last year’s infamous “Snowvember” storm, snow still remains in Buffalo, NY — in the form of two massive snow piles.

The 10-foot piles, located in an abandoned lot near Central Terminal, don’t really look like snow anymore; nearly one foot of soil covers the piles due to the long, slow melting process, which has actually insulated the snow even more. The only evidence of melting snow is the swampy soil that surrounds the piles.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it is weird when you think about it,” said WGRZ Meteorologist Patrick Hammer.

Last November, a freak lake-effect snow storm dropped seven feet of snow onto the Buffalo area. Snow removal crews had nowhere else to put all this snow, so the lot at Central Terminal became the dumping ground for 10,000 to 11,000 loads of snow from heavy duty snow plows. At its peak, the snow pile stood five stories high, reported.

“This past winter was one to remember,” says Jered Shuknecht, Marketing Director, Pro-Tech. “The region saw snow accumulation heading into the end of April.  That paired with the record breaking low temperatures and significant accumulations allowed for the snow to stick around longer than usual.  As of right now it looks like this next winter could be just as severe.  Many of our customers are already making equipment purchases and performing maintenance for this upcoming winter.”

However, it’s unlikely the snow piles will survive until the next winter. On Thursday, August 6, construction crews broke apart these snow piles, the largest of which is the length of two school buses. By removing the piles’ dirt covering and exposing the snow to the summer sun, the melting process will speed up significantly.

According to the Washington Post, Buffalo’s decision to speed up the melting process contrasts with that of Boston, who let its similarly gargantuan snow pile remain until it died of natural causes July 14 — and not everyone in Buffalo was happy about the difference.

“I wanted to see how long [Buffalo’s] baby could survive,” Don Paul, chief meteorologist for News4 Buffalo, joked. “At least Boston had the guts to see this through.”

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