One of GM’s Tonawanda plants, also in Buffalo, has been running throughout the storm. The plant missed the bulk of the snow -- it is south the area that was hit hardest, said Mary Ann Brown, GM plant communications manager. Production was slightly slower because employees who live in the center of the snowdrifts were unable to drive to work, but workers will make up lost production this weekend, Brown said.
The challenge was shipping parts to other factories through the snow, GM spokesman Bill Grotz said. But, GM’s logistics teams detoured transportation routes to best avoid severe weather.
The 3.1 million-square-foot plant employs 1,871 workers and produces engines for 12 GM models.
Heavy snowfall accumulated to at least 7 feet since Tuesday, shutting down roads.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said 32,000 tons of snow had been cleared from the streets of the city’s south side, The New York Times reported. The snowstorm caused 13 deaths in western New York, mostly from heart attacks and exposure.
More than 30 buildings suffered significant roof collapses Thursday night, most of which were farm or flat-roof buildings, the AP reported. Ford’s plant has a flat roof, but the automaker did not say how much snow is on the roof.
Many store employees climb onto roofs to remove the snow to avoid collapse, the AP said.
Some people were apparently stuck at Ford’s plant Wednesday. Twitter user Ryan Dueringer tweeted “@WGRZ 30 of us stuck at the Buffalo Ford Stamping Plant. We’ve taken in a dozen or so refugees from rte 5 and milestrip. #waitingitout.” It was not immediately clear if Dueringer is a plant employee.
The National Weather Service is forecasting that Buffalo will see a weekend of about 50-degree temperatures and a 60-degree Monday, which means melting snow that could lead to flooding. The weather service has issued a flood watch Sunday through Wednesday.