BUFFALO, N.Y., Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Western New Yorkers dreaming of a White Christmas got their wish as more than 25 inches of snow have fallen at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.
The airport was closed Monday evening because of heavy snow, and flights were diverted to Rochester, N.Y. Officials expect to reopen Buffalo airport by 6 p.m. EST.
Authorities said it's not the amount of snow that has fallen at the airport, but the ice that formed under the snow that has kept the planes grounded.
Forecasters expect the storm to dump another 3 to 6 inches of snow before it moves out of the area.
"It's stopped snowing here in the suburbs," said Fayyez Zafar, a clerk at a 7-11 store in Cheektowaga, N.Y. "Business has been good, it's been busy."
Zafar said there's almost two feet of snow on the ground, but the streets have been cleared.
The 25.2 inches of snow was Buffalo's third heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record. The second largest amount was 25.3 inches in 1982, while the heaviest was 37.9 in 1998.
According to the National weather Service out of the last 126 Christmas Day's in Buffalo it has snowed 86.
"I guess it was too many people at once wanting a white Christmas," a Buffalo woman, who didn't want to be identified, said. "We got our white Christmas but not this much."
The Niagara County Sheriff's Department said heavy snow was to blame for a fatal crash on Monday. Meanwhile, deputies were dealing with dozens of minor accidents and tow trucks pulled motorist out of drifts and ditches.
Authorities credit the small number of fatal accidents to the fact that traffic was lighter because there was no school and many workers took Monday and Tuesday off.
Despite the heavy snow on Monday shoppers at the Valu Home Center store in Niagara Falls snapped up the store's supplies of snow shovels, sidewalk salt and 80-pound bags of packaged sand.
"We don't sell snow blowers," sales associate Derek Mellenthine told the Buffalo News, "but there was a definite rush on everything else we carry."
The National Weather Service said snow showers are in the forecast every day for the rest of the week, with daily highs near 30 and nighttime lows around 20.
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