Worst April Snow Storm on Record

Buffalo in the Midst of a Blizzard Covering a Wide Territory
Much Damage Done to Telegraph and Telephone Wires
Milkman's Horse Killed
Trains Delayed

Buffalo Evening News  April 20, 1901

The worst April snow storm since the local Weather Office was established began yesterday morning and is still raging. Between 7 and 8 inches of snow have fallen and the downfall shows no sign of abating.

Buffalo is caught between two storm blizzard belts, one coming from Colorado and passing to the south and one coming from the Northwest and passing north of Western New York to the St. Lawrence Valley. Reports from the Chief of the Weather Department at Washington say that the snow will continue all day today and probably the greater part of tomorrow. Northwest storm signals have been ordered up at all points on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The Buffalo street railway service was in a badly crippled condition all morning and though by 9 o'clock the snow plows had done good work the cars will probably be running irregularly all day. Manager Van Horn of the Street Railway Company was up at 3 o'clock this morning superintending the service, but the sleet caked so on the overhead wires that many broke. Nearly every line in the city was crippled at some time or another. Shortly after 4 o'clock one of the big feed wires in Washington street gave way and it took the repair gang about an hour to replace it. During this hour service on the principal East Side lines was suspended.

On the West Side the Baynes and Hoyt, Albany and School, West and Grant and Elk-Sidway lines were laid up from 7:20 to 8 o'clock by a break in the wires on Normal Avenue. The cars turned into Connecticut street to go down town by way of Niagara, but a stoppage on Connecticut left that street blocked and between 15 and 20 cars, all crowded with passengers, had to wait until the line was cleared.

Forecaster Cuthberston, in looking over the records of his office, found that not since 1894 has any snow storm in April approached the present one in severity. Then on April 11 about 9 inches of snow fell. This year, though two weeks later, the storm is greater in severity and before it is over at least a foot of snow is expected.

Horse Killed by Live Wire

The police report that a milk dealer, whose they have not learned, had a narrow escape from being instantly killed at Normal Avenue and Connecticut street shortly after 8 o'clock this morning. The milk dealer was driving past the corner when a telephone wire fell on the horse's head. The animal fell to the street dead. The milkman jumped from his wagon and several pedestrians urged him not to go near it. The horse remained on the corner until telephone linemen came and removed the wire. A policeman is now guarding the crossing.

A giant tree in Hickory street, near Genesee, fell across the street about 9 o'clock, blocking traffic for several hours. All the way out Seneca street the wires are down and especially in the vicinity of Michigan street the wires of the telephone and telegraph companies are dangling from the poles, making it dangerous for passersby to walk in that locality. At Chicago and Elk streets there is a veritable network of wires that have fallen from their poles and police are guarding the corners.

Poles Crashed Down

The police report that a telegraph pole fell at the corner of Seneca and Michigan streets shortly after 9 o'clock this morning. The pole had been shaking and quivering for half an hour before it toppled over and pedestrians were warned to keep out of danger. There were no accidents.

The police telegraph system is demoralized. Shortly after midnight the suburban stations reported that many of the patrol box signals were not in working order and from that hour until 8 this morning complaints were received from all over the city saying the police, telephone, telegraph and patrol box wires were falling down.

The police report that a telegraph pole at the corner of Chicago and Elk streets fell down at 5 o'clock this morning. The heavy snow caused the accident. Nobody was injured. The police say that all the telephone and telegraph wires on Louisiana, Mackinaw, Sidway, Elk, Scott, Michigan, Hamburg, Fulton, Hayward, Ganson and West Market streets are down.

A telegraph pole at the corner of Georgia and Niagara streets fell to the ground at 9 o'clock this morning.

Moving Northward

 The storm is now central in the Virginias and is moving northward up the Atlantic coast. All cities in this section of the country are suffering. This morning's reports show that a foot of snow has fallen in Erie, eight inches at Oswego, six inches at Rochester, and similar depths all through Western New York and along the lower great lakes. Buffalo is getting it worse than other cities, however, as here the proportion of snow to rain is greater, and therefore railroad and street car tracks are more encumbered.

Manager Van Horn of the Buffalo Street Railway has this to say of the service: "We were caught unexpectedly, and the snow caused much delay up to 9 o'clock this morning. The lines are now all running and there will be but little trouble from now own. The street cars will probably be a little behind time, but no delays of any moment are likely to occur."

Trains Late and Wires Down

 Railway traffic is interrupted to the west by the storm and not hindered to the east. All the roads leading east report their trains arriving and leaving on time, with no trouble about their telegraph service, while all the roads from the west report some interruption, though none of it serious. From half an hour to two hours of delay is about the limit of the work of the storm. It extends eastward only about 60 or 70 miles and not far into Canada. The wires of the western roads have suffered particularly and are in much worse shape than the roadbed, since the snow is too wet to drift.

The Western Union reports its wires badly down in the city because, largely, of the fall of the telephone wires upon them. In South Buffalo no fewer than 16 heavily-strung telephone poles have fallen, and on the East Side, especially in William and Michigan streets, the telephone wires have broken from the weight of snow and worked two or three kinds of havoc.

The Postal cable service is carried in single cables and has not suffered to any especial degree, only one station is not working and that is reached by telephone.

The express companies are only a little delayed in their service.

See the accompanying story about the effects of the weather on the Exposition work.

[Ed. Note: A good bit of hyperbole seems to have been employed in publishing this story. The actual weather statistics for this storm, taken from the official archives:

April 18:  high 63, low 33; trace of precipitation
April 19:  high 33, low 30; snowfall 4.2"
April 20:  high 34, low 32; snowfall 5.5"
April 21:  high 45, low 24; no new precipitation, melting reduced


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