Best bet to weather the storm: Stay home
Your best best over the next day or two, according to county officials, is stay home.
Both Tim Yaeger, the county's emergency management coordinator, and Tim Hens, the county highway superintendent, made that point in conversations this evening about the anticipated weather conditions over the next 36 to 48 hours.
The Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory, advising residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Some white-out conditions have already been reported in some parts of the county, according to the advisory.
The governor has declared a state of emergency for Western New York and is mobilizing additional resources to help the 11-county area.
The National Weather Service has upgraded the weather outlook to blizzard conditions with up to three feet of snow, driven by strong winds and the weather danger increased by frightfully cold temperatures.
"The best thing people can do is stay off the roads," Yaeger said. "Make sure you have supplies; be prepared to stay home for at least two days. If you do lose power, use caution, watch your generators to make sure the exhaust area is kept clear and be careful with candles. People need to understand that there will be a delayed response by fire and EMS and law enforcement. We just hope everybody is extra careful tonight and through tomorrow night."
Hens, who shares some of the responsibility for keeping the snow off of roadways in the county, also urged residents to stay home.
"It's going to be at least 24 or 36 hours, so I hope people have enough at home to stay put for a while," Hens said.
Drivers getting stuck can make it harder on plow truck drivers and impede their ability to keep the roads clear, which can be a challenge in storms of lesser strength.
County workers are ready to work full shifts over the course of the storm. For most winter weather events, there might be a break in plowing in the middle of the night, but Hens said the plan is for crews to plow all night long tonight.
Once a roadway gets lost to a snow drift, "it's hard to get it back," Hens said. "Snow drifts can get hard like concrete."
That said, if there are prolonged stretches of zero visibility, it can become too dangerous for the plow drivers to be out on the roads and crews may need to take a break.
"It's been a long time since we had a storm of this magnitude," Hens said. "I've been with the county for 15 years and we haven't had a blizzard, by definition, in those 15 years."
Yaeger said that from an emergency response standpoint, the county is ready, though at this point there is no emergency command post set up.
"We'll watch it hour-by-hour," Yaeger said.
Cuomo is also calling in extra resources for all of WNY. There will be 420 additional plow trucks brought in from the Southern Tier and Central New York and an additional 1,000 state personnel on hand to deal with the emergency.
The Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation are preemptively closing some roadways, though none in Genesee County.
"We have experience with snow in Western New York, though this is something different," Cuomo said in a teleconference this evening. "It's snow, but it's also extraordinary arctic cold and winds that we think will make the storm extremely dangerous."
Cuomo encouraged residents to check on their neighbors, especially elderly neighbors, and ensure they have what they need to weather the storm.
"We'll get through this because we're New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "We take a tough situation and we handle it."
Welcome to your first blizzard, Howard. Be safe out there.
This is what us 40+ people who grew up here remember winters being like..... isn't it folks?
Oh, I remember the Blizzard of '77...
The Blizzard of '66 & '77 both started about the same way as this is playing out
When Spring finally comes, all the snow will melt and our houses will still be standing. Not the scenario in other parts of USA.
Lets see now...
Blizzard of '66 I was in Republic of Viet Nam
Blizzard of '77 I spent in Buffalo with my housebound mother for five days with a wife and two little kids in Batavia...
Now safe at home...yeah
My question is, does anyone remember 1993 I lived in Syracuse at that time. We had almost 4 ft of snow in that one. Syracuse was shut down for about 3 days.
I remember they had to stop plowing to bring out dumptrucks and giant snowblowers mounted in place of plows to haul off snow to be wearhoused in Longbranch park and the fairgrounds.
Also that space across from the fairgrounds along Onondaga Lake. That spring was also one of the wettest as well. Remember what we went through with the last storm's snowfall running off so fast. If we get whats expected man we are gonna flush all our creeks and waterways. Shouldn't have drought problems this summer thats for sure.
I was working in Key Largo Florida in February 1993 Kyle, it was 45 degrees there at the time and all the staff that was supposed to help us stayed home because it was 'Too Cold' so we went and had beer and shrimp at the Holiday Inn
My wife called me at the time the food was served because here at home, the back here at door was frozen shut and the door had to to go, she wanted to know what she could do to thaw the door, This is something to this day she hasn't let me forget.
"go home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football game."...Former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin
Jeff Allen I remember that comment. LOL
...and do not...under any circumstances...eat yellow snow...
After shoveling this AM I think that I am gonna follow Mr. Griffin's advice. Except maybe trade the beer for a mulled wine. Nothing like hot wine mixed with spices to warm the bones LOL.
Either that or a Hot Toddy.
Ok I have to laugh at this.... The Today show was posting storm tips and told people if their fridge goes out.... To keep it shut as much as possible to keep things from thawing. LOL I mean come on if you have meats and veggies in danger of thawing out on a day like today. Just put them in a box or bag and set them outside for 30 min they be frozen solid again for a few days.