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November 18, 2014 - 5:00pm

If things get worse, National Guard may be needed in Genesee County

posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

County officials have declared a state of emergency.

That will primarily make Genesee County eligible for state and federal assistance, and that may be needed, according to Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

"Depending on how things go tonight in Darien and Alexander, we may need to call in the National Guard," Hens said.

The guard could bring in heavy equipment to help move snow.

Darien, Alexander and Corfu has been hit by as much as five or six feet of snow, Hens said.

With people venturing out despite the travel bans, it's been difficult to plow roads. There have been extra plow trucks in those parts of the county provided by the county, state and towns and it's still not enough.

"The amount of snow is just phenomenal," Hens said. "You're talking five, six inches an hour. There are cars and trucks stranded, intersections plugged up. It's literally impossible for the plows to get around. There are roads in Darien that haven't seen a plow yet. That's no exaggeration. I wouldn't doubt it a bit. They're simply not able to keep up."

Members of the county's plow team have been on duty since 8 p.m. last night and most haven't had more than a two-hour break since then.

It's one of the largest storms Hens has ever seen.

The City of Batavia is approaching the 24-inch mark for 24 hours, which is considered a top 10, 10-year storm. 

The southwest parts of the county are well beyond that for storm totals.

Hens said there is the potential for 70 inches of snow in Darien.

And there's more snow coming tonight, light snow tomorrow and heavy snow predicted for Thursday.

The county may also bring in large snow blower trucks from Livingston and Wyoming counties.

"Those will be a sight to see," Hens said.

The emergency order was signed by County Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini. 

"It's a public safety matter," Cianfrini said. "We don't want people on the road who shouldn't be out there."

There are travel bans in effect for Darien, Pembroke, Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion, and a travel advisory in effect for the rest of the county.

The bans and state of emergency will remain in effect until further notice.

A lake effect snow warning is in place until Friday.

UPDATE 5:07 p.m.: The Red Cross has announced the opening of a shelter in Alexander, at the Alexander Fireman’s Recreation Hall, 10708 Alexander Road.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: There's now a travel ban in Le Roy.

Paul Saskowski
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We are on one of those roads that have not seen a plow. The driveway is drifted in chest deep and continues across the road. The power was out about two hours. Thanks National Grid crews for getting it back on.

Sarah Hinckley
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Any updates regarding travel advisories or bans Batavia?

Howard B. Owens
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We'll post updates when available.

Sarah Hinckley
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a friend of mine said that they were told by police that there was a ban for batavia, was just curious thank yoy

Barbara Hollands
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How could I find out if there is a ban for Batavia? My daughter will be getting off work in Oakfield soon and we need to figure out where she can go or if she has to stay at work. How bad is it in Batavia? thank you so much.

Scott Ogle
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People need to chill and appreciate the moment. People come together at such times. It's time to relax and let things play out.

Raymond Richardson
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Sarah and Barbara, you can contact the Genesee County Sheriff's office, on their non-emergency number, to ask about travel bans within the county, as they are the agency who makes the decision put up travel advisories and bans.

Their number for the dispatch center is: 585-343-5000

Howard B. Owens
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Please don't call dispatchers with these sorts of questions. We post important updates like this as they become available. Other media does as well. The dispatchers are much too busy to deal with questions that already have answers.

If there's a travel ban or advisory and there's no report to the contrary, then just assume it's still in place. Don't call dispatch. When it's lifted, we'll report it, as we did this morning as soon as it was lifted (and dispatchers still got hounded with calls all morning).

Mary E DelPlato
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why cant the town and city and state work together in times like this?dont we pay taxes for all of these?

Howard B. Owens
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They do work together.

John Roach
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Mary, where have you been? All over government agencies are working with each other.

Mary E DelPlato
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the town plow puck up their blades at tops...the city plows stop there too

Mary E DelPlato
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ok i didnt realize town was helping plow city roads

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