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Niagara County leadership told to brace for storm


Mon, Mar 13th 2017 09:20 pm

Departments directed to prepare for staffing, equipment needs

By Christian W. Peck

Public Information Officer

The leadership of Niagara County's government has been put on notice to prepare to meet anticipated manpower and equipment needs heading into an anticipated late-winter Nor'easter snowstorm.

The blizzard, dubbed Winter Storm Stella by the Weather Channel, is expected to hit Tuesday and Wednesday. The directive was issued to County Manager Rick Updegrove by Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall, Infrastructure and Facilities Committee Chairman John Syracuse, and Community Safety and Security Committee Chairman David E. Godfrey.

"The sudden shift in weather is the top concern for county government for the immediate future," Syracuse said after holding a Monday night infrastructure and facilities committee meeting at the Niagara County Courthouse. "We want to ensure that the mild weather up until the past few days hasn't left our department heads complacent."

After a brief huddle with McNall, Syracuse and Godfrey, Updegrove directed affected department heads to have a plan in place Tuesday morning for coping with large-scale disruptions related to snowfall.

"We are doing our best to navigate whatever lies ahead," McNall said. "We're hoping the storm effects are relatively mild, but this is Western New York, and we'll be prepared."

Godfrey said he plans to be in constant contact with Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour and Director of Emergency Services Jonathan Schultz over the next two days.

"Niagara County's government always emphasizes public safety, and this snowstorm doesn't change that - it just amplifies the visibility of it," Godfrey said. "Our first responders will be in communication with other public safety agencies around the county for the duration of the storm."

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