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WNY remembers: 15th anniversary of Surprise October Storm

The storm ripped through the area in 2006, leaving hundreds of thousands without power due to heavy snowfall and fallen trees.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 12, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — If you grew up in Buffalo, it is nearly impossible to forget what many call the "Surprise October Storm."

"It was something that whether you wanted to or not, you had to be fascinated by it," said Don Purdy, the author of the newly released book "Thunder Snow of Buffalo."

Purdy began work on the novel to showcase what he believes to be "an essential event in Buffalonian history."

It hosts more than 50 accounts from local legends from the Bills and Sabres, plus political figures like Mayor Brown, meteorologists, and many more.

Purdy personally had a tree fall through his house that day - and a basement full of knee-high water.

"We were lucky. There was so much worse," he said.

The snowstorm uncharacteristically hit Western New York on October 12th due to a strong lake effect. The area was ravaged by upwards of two feet of snow, high winds, and most importantly - about 55,000 downed trees.

Throughout the carnage, the nonprofit Re-Tree WNY was born. Founder Paul D. Maurer was working for a radio station at the time, but recognized need and made sure it was dealt with.

"I couldn't believe it. I didn't know how we could ever recover from this. I needed to make a change," he said.

That he did - his organization has cooperated with the Erie County government, both planting 30,000 trees to replace those lost. Even though his work in recovery is finished, the group still plans to continue to plant. Their next session is in early November - you can find the link to sign up here.

Also, if you are interested in reading Purdy's account of the storm, you can find it locally here:

  • (on Elmwood Ave) at Thin Ice or ShopCraft
  • (at Southgate Plaza) at Bay 6 or Annie's Hallmark
  • The Bills Store
  • BFLO Stores
  • Totally Buffalo Store
  • Dog Ears
  • Benders
  • Lock City
  • BookWorm
  • ZubaZone 716

Or nationally, anywhere books are sold.