On October 12 - 13, 2006, an unusual early-fall snowstorm belted Western New York making one of the top ten record snowfalls for a 24-hour period. In fact, 22.6 inches of snow were recorded at Buffalo International Airport for this storm which left more than 400,000 homes and businesses without power and prompted a State of Emergency. A 105-mile stretch of New York State Thruway was closed and three people died in storm related incidents.
While WNY is famous for its lake effect snowstorms, the October Storm was particularly devastating due to the leaves still being on the trees. Heavy wet snows accumulated on the leaves and branches of the trees causing even the healthiest of trunks to snap under the wet. The catastrophic tree damage brought down power lines and impeded utility and cleanup crews from restoring power for weeks. It would be nearly a year before all the downed and damaged trees were cleared away and it is estimated, conservatively, to have cause over $140 million in damage.
It is also estimated that the October Storm damaged as many as 90 percent of the Buffalo’s trees including those in the city's cherished parks and parkways designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. From this incredible devastation arose a new community organization made of an eclectic group of professionals who are collectively dedicated to a five-year mission of replacing approximately 30,000 trees in Western New York that were damaged or destroyed. The first tree planting was on Arbor Day, April 27, 2007 and the effort continues, this week in fact, with more tree planting events.
The Earth Club of Genesee Community College is proud to bring Paul Maurer, one of the founders and the chairman of Re-Tree WNY for a free community event and presentation about the ongoing effort to re-tree western New York. Arborists, gardeners, hikers, environmentalists, farmers, conservationists and tree lovers and tree huggers of all kinds are invited to hear Maurer’s presentation and how this grass root group made of very different people from different backgrounds committed to a splendid community effort cause. The Re-TreeWNY presentation is on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 1:00PM in lecture hall T102 of Genesee Community College in Batavia.
For more information about Re-TreeWNY go to www.Re-TreeWNY.org.
# # #
Editor’s Note: Photographs of the October storm are available at: