Recovering from the October Surprise Storm
In October of 2006, two feet of heavy wet snow fell in Buffalo for nearly 16 hours. Combined with strong winds and trees in full foliage, this storm caused an unprecedented natural disaster.
Roads were impassable. Trees were sliced in two. And Forest Lawn was closed for the first time since the Blizzard of ’77 (the Blizzard closed Forest Lawn to the public for four days; this storm closed the cemetery for more than a month). Approximately 700 of the cemetery’s 3,300+ trees were downed or removed; 90 percent were damaged and in need of professional care.
But even during the time Forest Lawn was officially closed, we still were able to accommodate every family’s request for a funeral or cremation, as well as visitation, using rented vans to escort people through Forest Lawn. We understand that visiting a loved one’s gravesite is an important form of comfort, which is why we took every effort to accommodate our visitors.
At present the total storm recovery costs exceed $1,200,000 – which doesn’t include the immense cost of replacing the 700-plus trees that were so severely damaged that they were removed.
Without federal disaster aid (every cemetery in the area was denied), we are forced to cover this unexpected cost. We understand that everyone in the community was affected by the October Surprise Storm. We also know that everyone in the community realizes the historic value that Forest Lawn brings to Western New York.
Your tax-deductible contribution will help us continue to provide the proper care for our trees, and ensure that Forest Lawn remains a cultural and natural treasure of which all of us can be proud.