Blizzard shuts down; wind chills still a factor

Cars travel north on Harlem Road during a lake effect snow storm on January 31, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Cars travel north on Harlem Road during a lake effect snow storm on January 31, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The State of Emergency affecting the County of Erie has been lifted Erie County Executive Mark Polocarz said during a storm briefing at 3 pm Thursday.

The travel advisory at the county level impacting traffic in northern Erie County was also lifted at that time.

The State of Emergency and travel advisories issued by Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski remain in effect until further notice as the town wants folks off the road so crews can efficiently clear the snow from the streets.

“It was a very, very, significant storm,” Mr. Poloncarz said. “I think the community weathered it very well.  I’m glad most people adhered to the driving bans and the recommendations of the public officials.  As a result, we were able to avoid what had happened in past storms.”

A winter storm warning for Cheektowaga expires at 7 pm Thursday, but a wind chill advisory remains in effect until 5 am Friday.

“It’s going to be very cold during the overnight hours again, so we are advising people to don’t go out if you have to go out – especially in the evening hours.  Lake effect snow is still falling in the southern part of Erie County,” he added.

Three deaths are potentially tied to this storm which Mr. Poloncarz calls a Blizzard.  A homeless man was found frozen to death outside a bus shelter on Main Street in Williamsville.  Two senior men also died; one was found dead while snow blowing and the other was found dead while shoveling.

“All the warnings we have been saying are real, and they can make the difference in somebody’s life, and I’m sure the family members wished that they had heeded that advice,” Mr. Poloncarz said.

“Erie County residents still need to remember that it’s really cold out even though the temperature is warming.  Minus 15 below zero windchill is still cold,” said Dr. Gale R. Burstein, Commissioner of Health.

The county executive tells the media he was on a conference call with school leaders at 1 pm, but outside of the City of Buffalo, no one has closed school for Friday yet.

Update as of 5:30 pm Thursday – all school districts in Cheektowaga will be closed Friday. 

Full sanitation service resumes in the Town of Cheektowaga on Friday.  If your route was canceled on Wednesday or Thursday, you’re asked to place both your garbage and recycling out to the curb next week on your regular pickup day.

Meals on Wheels also resumes Friday.  Erie County is working to resupply clients with a new blizzard box.

Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner says crews have been busy clearing snow-clogged streets.  Read what the highway department is doing in the next 12-hours.

The town-wide State of Emergency and Travel Advisory will be re-evaluated at midnight Ms. Benczkowski tells Cheektowaga Chronicle.

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