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Blizzard of 2019 keeps town personnel working round the Island, round the clock

Sat, Feb 2nd 2019 07:00 am
Pictured is the Niagara Queen II ice breaker boat in the Niagara River. (Photo by David Yarger)
Pictured is the Niagara Queen II ice breaker boat in the Niagara River. (Photo by David Yarger)

Brutal cold, white-outs and snow caused Grand Island school and government closures this week.

Town Hall and the court closed Wednesday and reopened Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Grand Island Central School District canceled all after-school activities and then called for two snow days Wednesday and Thursday.

The town’s Highway Department is asking for the public’s help in clearing the roads, mainly saying stay home.

“The winter blast hitting our town and region has brought heavy snowfall, heavy wind and bone-chilling wind chill,” wrote Highway Superintendent Richard W. Crawford. “The GI Highway Department employees have been working around the clock and successfully kept the main roads and subdivisions open for travel. We continue to ask that you adhere to the no parking law from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. To help us clear your street, we also ask that you do not put your garbage or recycling in the street. Due to the current conditions, we also caution you on any unnecessary travel. If travel is required, drive with extreme caution.”

The Huth Road Elementary School weather station, established by Andy Parker, meteorologist for WKBW-TV Channel 7, had a low of minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Wind chill totals are expected well below minus-20 degrees. This caused local school districts to pre-emptively cancel afternoon activities on Tuesday, as well as school on Wednesday and Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Cheektowaga on Wednesday morning. He provided an update on the significant winter weather systems affecting most of upstate, as well as the state’s response.

Grand Island missed out on the travel ban that County Executive Mark Poloncarz installed. The ban existed in Alden, Aurora, Boston, Brant, Eden, Elma, Evans, Hamburg, Marilla, North Collins and Orchard Park and all the villages in those towns.

As much as two feet of snow was expected in the most persistent lake-effect snow bands, which had the southern end of the island as its northern edge. The polar vortex has moved in from the north and continues to deliver dangerously cold wind chills.


Ice buildup on the Niagara Falls side of the river near the North Grand Island Bridge is pictured from the vantage point of LaSalle Waterfront Park. (Photo by Larry Austin)

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