Buffalo Baby Boom: Nine Months After Freak Blizzard Buried City, Maternity Wards Are Filling Up

Buffalo suffered a freak blizzard in November that left the city buried under several feet of snow, essentially shutting down the region for several days until emergency crews could dig out.

Now, nine months after the crippling storm, there is a different kind of flurry of activity, one that’s happening at maternity wards across the region. Mercy Hospital in Buffalo said the storm led to a baby boom, and births are expected to be up about 25 percent during August.

“Several months ago, I looked at our nurse manager and said: ‘We better buy more cribs,'” said Mary Ann Murphy, who is in charge of maternity services at Mercy Hospital, in an interview with NBC News.

Some of the days this month have been backed with deliveries, officials added.

“The amazing thing is, Mary Ann usually does maybe six deliveries a day, on average,” Mercy Hospital President and Chief Executive C.J. Urlaub said. “We’ve already had three days that we’ve had 14 and 16 deliveries.”

The November storm was certainly bizarre. It blew in off Lake Erie as an intense band of snow just south of the city of Buffalo, one that dumped as much as seven feet on suburbs like Orchard Park while leaving only a few inches in Buffalo and northern suburbs.

The storm came so suddenly that many people were trapped in cars or forced to take shelter inside stores. Those in their homes remained trapped there for several days.

Particularly hard hit was Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Buffalo Bills were set to host the New York Jets five days from when the storm hit. But there was so much snow in the stadium and surrounding parking lots that officials had to cancel the game.

“Public safety is the first priority,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in the days after the storm hit. “We have been in discussions regarding potential alternatives. We will provide an update later today.”

After looking into nearby options, including Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., the Bills ultimately traveled to Detroit to take on the Jets in what ended up being a Monday night contest.

As residents were trapped with no entertainment or sports, they found ways to keep entertained.

“Nowhere to go, nothing to do,” said Jason and Stephanie Brueggeman in an interview with NBC News.

The couple welcomed a daughter, Grace Elizabeth, this week.

Other hospitals in Buffalo area are also bracing for the baby boom, shifting rooms and calling in more doctors to handle the flurry of births.

[Image via Mercy Hospital]

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