When Buffalo, NY, recently experienced a recording-breaking November snowfall, WRAL-TV Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel & WRAL-TV News Photographer Richard Adkins hit the road. The pair traveled up north to bring the snow story back to the Triangle. Adkins shared their winter weather experience with Capcom:
The Buffalo Experience
Set the Way-Back machine to 1998. That’s the year Anchor Jim Payne, Producer Malinda Adams and I traveled to Nagano Japan for the Winter Olmpics. It was my first taste of what a REAL winter is like. Two years later nearly two feet of snow fell right here in the Raleigh area and I spent days covering that. And a dozen years later Greg Fishel and I foolishly thought we were tougher than the cold and snow of Mount Washington. But none of that, none of that, prepared me for the Buffalo snow up to my waist.
It started snowing in the Buffalo, New York area on a Tuesday. The weather broke for a day and Thursday more snow fell totaling seven to eight feet in some area. Greg Fishel and I landed at the Buffalo-Niagra airport Friday morning.
We wanted to find the deepest snow, the most snowed-in areas, we wanted to find people Greg could talk with and then tell their stories of how the epic snowfall affected their lives. We did that. Lancaster. East Aurora. Wales. Greg climbed on top of a horse-and-buggy shed to talk with the owner while he cleared snow from the roof. We trekked through waist-deep snow to shoot video of a woman clearing snow from her roof. We talked to children playing in the snow, we talked with men shoveling the snow. But Greg wanted more.
Greg likes snow. Greg wanted to find a place where the snow was still coming down. So armed with smart-phone radar and other meteorologic magic, we found one of the few remaining bands of wintery weather. We found Greg snowfall. It was marvelous. The snow-lover cursed to live in the south had found nerd-vana.
Within 10 minutes the snow was so heavy, so thick, so intense that you could no longer see the road. The asphalt shoulders blended seamlessly into the fields on either side. Visibility was measured in feet. Snow… that ferry dust from the sky is nothing but a nuisances when you’ve got to get to where you’re going. And we had to get back to East Aurora so our cellular back-pack could get our Live News Gathering back to Raleigh.
Greg took the wheel, I sat in the back of the 4-Wheel Drive Ford Expedition writing and editing. Two wheels traveled off the roadway and Greg apologized for the errant detour, he steered back on the road and we kept going. Dying in a snowbank is not a good reason to miss deadline… and we don’t miss deadline.
We found a parking lot with crews removing snow, Greg stood in front of the camera, Live TV happened right there. Finally, the 5pm and 6pm news were in the rear-view mirror, the 10pm and 11pm news still on the horizon. An adventure that started with a 6am flight out of RDU was hitting it’s stride.
When we left Buffalo two days after landing there, it was actually warmer than Raleigh. The snow was beginning to melt, and what remained was turning black and dirty as snow plows continued to pile on top of piles. Three days was enough… even for Snow-lover Greg Fishel, who was now longing for warmer days and green golf courses.
Check out some of the stories from Fishel and Adkin’s trip to Buffalo:
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Richard Adkins for these capcom story & for these capcom photos.