New York Construction Report staff writer
Gov. Kathy Hochul says a State of Emergency was issued Thursday morning for 11 counties as a winter storm is forecast to impact portions of upstate New York with intense lake effect snow through Sunday. The most significant snowfall is expected today with accumulations of up to four feet of snow possible in the Buffalo area and up to two feet or more in the Watertown area.
A total driving ban was enacted for all of Erie County as of 9 p.m. and will be re-evaluated this morning. Only authorized emergency vehicles are permitted on the roads.
“This is an extreme event,” Hochul said at a news conference. “That means it’s dangerous. It also means it’s life-threatening.
The State of Emergency applies to the following counties, as well as contiguous counties: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wyoming.
“We all have to do our part to make sure that everyone stays safe during this winter storm — that’s why I have declared a State of Emergency for impacted counties, which will free up resources and boost our readiness,” Hochul said. “I urge all New Yorkers to stay prepared and vigilant over the next few days, making sure to look after vulnerable loved ones and neighbors.”
Lake Effect Snow Warning and Winter Storm Watches are in effect through Sunday evening for several counties in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York and North Country regions. As of Thursday, the National Weather Service forecast anticipates several feet of snow for multiple locations over the duration of this storm.
The State Department of Transportation is responding with 3,287 supervisors and operators to respond as required, including snow and ice operations, drainage, chipper, load and haul, and cut and toss.
To support lake effect snow response in critical areas, a total of 112 staff from other regions, including 92 plow truck operators/supervisors, 11 equipment operator instructors, six mechanics, one operations manager, 1 ICS support staff, one safety representative, and one ICS support staff member were deployed to impacted regions. Additionally, 15 plow trucks, 6 medium duty trucks with plow, and 1 bulldozer were also deployed.