CLEVELAND — While Northeast Ohio is still feeling the effects of the severe winter storm that barreled through the region over the weekend, Buffalo got hit as hard as anyone in the country.
As the storm moved towards the north portion of New York, an intense band of lake effect snow developed and sat over the city for over three days resulting in a devastating blizzard. It paralyzed the city and left residents to fend for themselves.
Chrissy Paradwoski, a former Clevelander, was right in the middle of the storm's path with her husband Mark and their two girls. The youngest just two months old.
“The heat is out, the power is out the cable it out. Was worried we weren't going to have power on time especially for the baby.”
The Paradowkski’s did have a generator. but was quickly rendered useless when it ran out of gas. For 50 hours they kept warm by their gas fireplace. Chrissy reading to 2 year old Larkin as they were bundled up inside a 40 degree home.
Nova, was kept in blankets. The couple would charge their phones in the car when the batteries died. And that's when Chrissy realized the city of Buffalo was in trouble
“I was reading all of these horror stories of 'my kid is starting to fade she is not even moving.' I was reading all these things I was feeling bad for people we couldn't even reach.” Chrissy continued.
Mark attempted to venture out to check on his neighbors but it was too blustery. Many people died in their cars, snow drifts, trying to dig their way out of 4 feet of snow in subzero temperatures. Emergency services unable to reach the citizens in trouble because of the treacherous conditions.
The family found themselves in as vulnerable of a position one can be in during a weather event like this. What if the power doesn't come back? What if one of the children came down sick or had a medical emergency? What if they couldn't get gas for the generator?
The questions pilled up as the anxiety grew. Chrissy said, "Here for three days we couldn't even open the door and that's how most people were.”
The city went from bad to worse. A sheiche formed over lake Erie. The strong southwest wind moved water all across the lake and landed in Buffalo.
Some areas seeing 20 foot waves, leaving Buffalo a frozen tundra. Folks like the Paradowski's are accustomed to the harsh Buffalo winters, but this one was unlike any they have never seen.