New York State mobilizing resources to Erie County

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Cheektowaga on January 30th in response to the snow storm. (Courtesy County Executive Mark Poloncarz Facebook Page)
Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Cheektowaga on January 30th in response to the snow storm. (Courtesy County Executive Mark Poloncarz Facebook Page)

CHEEKTOWAGA – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped in Cheektowaga Wednesday morning to warn the public that this winter storm is “something different” and pledges state resources to Erie County.

Persistent lake effect snow bans could bring an additional 10 to 19 inches of accumulation to Cheektowaga and Northern Erie County through Wednesday.  Two to three feet of snow is expected for southern Erie County.

“The good news in this situation is that Downstate New York is not affected as much – New York City and Long Island – that gives us the ability to redeploy personnel and equipment,”  Mr. Cuomo said.

Most of the equipment will go to help clear hospital routes in the City of Buffalo, but other equipment will also be made available to Erie County if they need it.

Temperatures Wednesday are expected to plunge into single digits causing subzero wind chills.

“Snowfall is one thing.  Snowfall and high winds and subzero temperatures is a more complicated situation,” added Mr. Cuomo.  “We have lost lives in storms like this so when I say its nothing to be trifled with I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can because they are dangerous.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says there are several warming shelters open should anyone need them.

He also warns that sidewalks should be shoveled so people aren’t walking in the street.  He also advises that you should clear your fire hydrants.

“We’re getting three to four feet of snow built up on the edge of the road with the snow we have recently.  If you don’t shovel your hydrant and the fire department has to respond; they have to find your hydrant and dig it out – that three to five minutes can make the difference between your house burning down and not,” said Mr. Poloncarz.

Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner tells Cheektowaga Chronicle that his full department has been working since midnight.

“We’re going around for a second time now, and we’re going to start salting, now that it has stopped snowing,” Mr. Wegner said at 11 o’clock Wednesday morning.

He says the snow hit the north part of town the hardest, but everyone did see plowable accumulations.

“It’s not difficult to plow because this snow is so soft and light.  It’s just cleaning it all up, and then we have to deal with people throwing it all back out into the road because they don’t want it in their driveway,” he added.

Mr. Wegner sympathizes that residents may be running out of the room, but reminds people that it is against town code to deposit your snow back into the road.

If the town gets the additional 19 inches of snow that the weather service is forecasting, Mr. Wegner says he is going to contract out two snowblowers to help remove snow from the already clogged main roads.

At 11 o’clock Wednesday morning, every highway worker was out clearing the snow and putting down salt.  If there is a respite in the snow in the afternoon, he says he plans to send all the guys home.

“We’ll send them home to get some sleep because we’ve been in since midnight.  We’ll come back in around 10 pm tonight depending on the weather.  If I can hold off until one in the morning when the cars are off the road that’s easier for us,” added Mr. Wegner.

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