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Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Winter weather advisory in effect until 7 tonight

post by Billie Owens in weather

A winter weather advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service in Buffalo and it's in effect until 7 p.m.

Expect patchy, freezing drizzle mixed with light snow at times. This will create slick spots on untreated surfaces. Slight ice accumulation is also expected, with temperatures in the low 30s.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

Residents clear paths through the snow after storm passes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

Somewhere in the neighborhood of a foot of snow fell on Batavia overnight and this morning residents were clearing driveways and sidewalks.

From 13WHAM, The Batavian's news partner, here's a forecast:

Most of the steady snow has now moved west and out of the area. The chance of some scattered snow showers will remain through the day, but not the steady type of snow that we have already experienced. Another inch of snow could fall from any of the snow showers that pass through the rest of today. A Winter Weather Advisory does remains in effect for Genesee and Wyoming counties through 4 a.m. tomorrow. As of earlier this morning, 10 inches of snow had fallen in Warsaw, 4.5 inches in Avon, 6.5 inches near Silver Springs, 10.4 in Wyoming, and 5.5 inches near Dansville.

It will take a while for any melting to begin. Temperatures will remain in the 20s for much of today. Temperatures will rise to about the freezing point for a high tomorrow, but will rise higher, into the 30s and 40s, by this upcoming weekend and early next week.

Top photo: William Palone on East Avenue at Ross Street.

Marilyn Canipe on North Spruce Street.

A bike rider trying to negotiate his way through the snow and slush on North Street.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Genesee County covered in storm disaster area designation by USDA

post by Howard B. Owens in USDA, weather

Press release:

Today, senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and representatives Brian Higgins and Chris Collins announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved primary and contiguous disaster designations for seven Western New York counties, due to losses caused by excessive snow, flooding, freeze, and high winds that occurred Nov. 17-24. The Secretarial natural disaster declaration will apply for the following counties: Genesee, Erie, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.

Last month, following the storm, Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins and Collins urged the USDA to assess damage and be ready to issue this declaration so that emergency loans could be made available to the farmers, flower growers, and local producers that suffered as a result of the historic November snowstorm. The lawmakers said that USDA assistance is available to farmers who experience severe crop, livestock and business loss.

“After weathering several days of brutal weather and record-high snowfall, the USDA’s decision to provide emergency disaster assistance to farmers and growers across seven Western New York counties is welcome news. I visited many communities and saw the damage the snow caused firsthand. Thankfully, this disaster declaration means our Upstate farmers and growers will have access to critical emergency loans and more, at a time when they need it the most,” Senator Schumer said. “I applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture for swiftly assessing the damage to farms, flower growers, vineyards, wineries and orchards throughout the region following the historic snowfall in November, and coming through with disaster designation.”

Senator Gillibrand, the first New York senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, said:

"I saw firsthand the severe losses Western New York’s agriculture community faced after last month’s unprecedented snowfall. The stories I heard were powerful. This declaration will enable those who lost greenhouses, barns, processing facilities, harvesting equipment, animals, trees, vines and crops to access resources that will help them as they recover and begin planning for a new growing season. I thank Secretary Vilsack and the dedicated staff of the Farm Service Agency who worked so hard to make sure the voices of our farmers were heard and that this much-needed aid is being made available."

Congressman Higgins: “Farm communities in Western New York were hit hard by the November snowstorm, and the federal government has an obligation to respond. This disaster caused loss of crops and business impacting the livelihood of local farmers. We applaud the USDA’s willingness to provide much needed relief to those struggling to recover from damages caused by the storm.”  

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27): “Western New York's agriculture community took a huge hit during the historic November snowstorm and our local farmers and growers need help. I am pleased that our bipartisan push worked and the USDA is taking action necessary to provide needed disaster assistance.”

The senators and congressmen explained that this Secretarial disaster designation will make farm operators eligible to be considered for Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. Farmers in the eligible counties will have eight months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for such emergency loans.

The programs available with a USDA disaster declaration are as follows:

·         Emergency Farm Loans -- low interest loans;

·         Disaster Set-Aside Program -- borrowers located in designated disaster areas or contiguous counties who are unable to make their scheduled payment on any FSA debt can set aside one payment after a disaster.

Additionally, the following programs are available through the USDA without a disaster declaration:

·         Tree Assistance Program (TAP) -- provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters;

·         Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) -- provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather;

·         Forest Restoration Program (FRP) -- helps the owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters;

·        Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, & Farm-raised Fish (ELAP) -- provides emergency relief to producers of livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish from other natural disasters that are not adequately covered by any other disaster program.

In their letter to Secretary Vilsack last month, Schumer, Gillibrand, Collins and Higgins wrote: “We urge USDA to dedicate all available resources to complete a damage survey in the most timely manner to assess the need for a USDA disaster declaration to prevent the delay of any needed emergency relief. Additionally, we request that FSA field officers work with farmers to help them accurately document losses, which will enable them to apply for USDA disaster programs.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Photo: Snowfall arrives during evening commute

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, weather

The predicted snowfall for this morning didn't really materialize, but it's coming down pretty good right now, with a prediction of up to two inches by 7 p.m.

Here's 60 seconds of what it was looking like at Main and Center a few minutes ago:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Heavy snow predicted for Wednesday into Thursday

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A winter storm warning for heavy snow has been issued for 4 a.m. through 6 p.m., Thursday, replacing the previous storm advisory.

Precipitation will start start tonight and change over to snowfall by the morning.

A storm total of 8 to 14 inches is predicted, with 3 to 5 inches in the morning and 4 to 6 inches Wednesday night and 1 to 3 inches Thursday.

Winds from the northwest at 10 to 20 mph.

Visibility will be reduced to a quarter of a mile at times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

Predicted winter storm downgraded

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A winter weather advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for 1 a.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m. Friday, with a storm total of 7 to 13 inches of snow.

The winter weather watch is cancelled.

The storm could bring 2 to 4 inches of snow Wednesday, 1 to 3 Wednesday night, 2 to 4 inches Thursday and up to 2 inches Thursday night.

The greatest snowfall is expected across higher terrain and south of the Thruway.

Winds will be from the northwest at 15 to 25 mph.

Visibility could drop to a half mile at times.

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Weather forecast for the next few days

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

From Kaylee Wednt, meteorologist at The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM:

We expect Tuesday to be mainly gray, but some breaks of limited sunshine are possible. The temperature may reach 40 degrees through the course of the day keeping any precipitation that we may see in the form of rain. A winter storm watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Tuesday through 7 a.m. Thursday. A storm system will drift north from New Jersey into New England. Snow from this system will be enhanced over Lake Ontario producing snow accumulation through Thursday morning. Tuesday night an inch or less of snowfall will accumulate on the ground. We feel that the greatest chance for any substantial accumulation will take place on Wednesday. The snow intensity may briefly increase through the afternoon. We expect to see 3-6” of snowfall throughout the course of the day. A north/northwesterly flow lake enhancement is likely, especially north of the Thruway. This may bring another 1-3” to the area Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Many areas will see storm totals between 6 and 12”. Check back for further updates on this storm system from the 13WHAM Weather Authority.

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 10:07 am

Winter storm watch issued for Tuesday evening through Thursday morning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

From 6 to 12 inches of snow may fall on the area some time between Tuesday evening and Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds of 10 to 20 mph from the northwest are expected and visibility during the heavy parts of the storm are expected to drop to a half mile.

A winter storm watch is in effect.

The weather service warns of slick roads and difficult travel.

The forecast confidence is "medium."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

The Tonawanda Creek reaches minor flood stage

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Tonawanda Creek, weather

The Tonawanda Creek has reached a minor flood stage of nine feet high and is expected to crest this afternoon at 9.3 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Photo from about an hour ago at the spillway behind the County Courthouse.

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