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Snow day news and notes

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Thu, Jan 31st 2019 08:35 am

•The Niagara County home-delivered meals program is closed today.

•Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed nonessential state employees in Erie County who do not need to report to work today due to weather conditions, including extreme cold and blowing and heavy snow, as well as a number of road closures, to stay home.

The governor also announced a state of emergency is in effect for Erie County and other counties affected by the extreme weather. States of emergency were declared by Erie County, the City of Buffalo and the Town of Cheektowaga.

"As Western New York continues to face extreme cold and snow, I urge nonessential state employees to stay home, stay off the roads and stay safe,"  Cuomo said. "We are actively monitoring the storm and will continue to assist localities in Western New York and across the state with personnel, equipment and assets to clear the roads and keep New Yorkers safe."

Nonessential employees in state offices in Erie County can stay home from work today without having to charge accruals.

If a state employee has any questions, they should contact a supervisor or human resources department. 

•Cuomo returned to Western New York today. He updated New Yorkers on both the string of impactful winter weather that continues to affect most parts of the state, as well as the state's response to these storms.

Snow events on Tuesday and Wednesday have left most of upstate New York with anywhere between 12 to 24 inches of snow, while pockets of Western New York and the North Country have experienced up to 2 feet. By Thursday evening, these areas, which are often impacted by persistent lake-effect snowbands can expect to see up to an additional 2 to 3 feet of snow.

Additionally, the polar vortex that entered New York from the north on Wednesday morning continues to engulf most of the state in freezing cold air. High wind gusts and frigid temperatures will result in dangerous wind chills, as well as health threats such as frostbite and hypothermia through late tonight.

Travel remains difficult to near-impossible across the state in several locations, as hazardous weather conditions impact roads with blowing snow and freezing temperatures. A ban remains in place for tractor-trailers and commercial buses for the duration of the storm along multiple state routes and interstates. Violators of this ban will be punished with fines, two points on the license and potential criminal charges. Additionally, several local municipalities have enacted travel advisories and speed restrictions due to hazardous travel conditions.

Cuomo pre-deployed state assets ahead of the storm, and those assets remain fully engaged in helping local governments respond. The state emergency operations center continues to be in a level three activation to assist with emergency response activities, as well.

"Heavy lake-effect snow and dangerous wind chills are expected to continue to impact most of upstate through Friday morning, and I urge all New Yorkers to remain vigilant and stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary," Cuomo said. "Make no mistake, these storms have created hazardous travel conditions and, while snow is nothing new to upstate New Yorkers, residents should take the necessary precautions when venturing outside. Tractor-trailer and bus bans remain in effect on several upstate highways, and violators of this ban and the companies they work for will be punished appropriately."

Local State of Emergency

The following localities have declared a state of emergency: 

  • Erie County
  • Genesee County
  • Herkimer County
  • City of Buffalo
  • Town and Village of Orchard Park
  • City of Lackawanna
  • Town of Cheektowaga
  • Town and Village of Hamburg
  • Town and Village of Lancaster
  • Town of Newstead
  • Village of Blasdell
  • Village of Illion

New Yorkers are advised to pay close attention to local weather reports to stay up to date with the latest information. The National Weather Service has issued wind chill warnings for many parts of the state, as well as several various weather alerts such as blizzard warnings and ice jam flooding warnings for different areas of the state. For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit your local National Weather Service website.

Tractor-Trailer/Bus Ban

Tractor-trailers and commercial buses are banned from the New York State Thruway from Exit 46 (Rochester I-390) to the Pennsylvania border, as well as Interstate 190, Interstate 290, state Route 400, U.S. Route 219 (from Peters Road to Interstate 90); state Route 5 from state Route 179 to I-190; and Interstate 81 from the Canadian border to state Route 104. The bans will last for the duration of the storm.

The tractor-trailer and bus ban will continue to be strictly enforced by New York State Police on these roads and highways. Tractor-trailer and bus drivers, as well as their companies, who violate these bans will be held accountable. Violators will be punished with fines up to $450, two points on the license and potential criminal charges.

Closings

•Due to the forecast for continued blowing snow, high winds, decreased visibility during travel, and numerous travel bans and advisories throughout the region, Niagara University is closed today. All undergraduate and graduate classes scheduled for the Lewiston campus are canceled. Students completing online classes should consult with individual professors.

•All University at Buffalo classes and activities scheduled for today are canceled due to severe weather conditions.

Essential employees should report to work. It is understood that not all essential employees will be able to travel to campus in inclement weather or because of travel bans. In that case, essential employees should contact their supervisor.

For information about UB policy on essential employees, visit this website.

Additional information about changes in university schedule and operations will be posted at www.emergency.buffalo.edu.

•The local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, located at 306 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, is closed today as a result of winter weather conditions. The co-located USCIS Application Support Center is also closed today.

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