Skip to main content

City and County closes Friday but essential services remain open

By Joanne Beck


Even though city and county offices closed Friday, all essential offices, including City of Batavia police, fire, public works, management and non-union personnel, will continue to operate through the duration of the storm, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

Tabelski and Genesee County Manager Matt Landers made a decision Thursday to close their respective offices and buildings Friday; however, staff has been in place, including the Sheriff’s Office road patrol, dispatch center, the jail and highway department snowplow crews, Landers said.

This is the first for the county in several years to close down ahead of time due to anticipated weather.

“After multiple discussions with County Emergency Management, the County Sheriff’s Office, the County Highway Department, various other County departments, along with the City of Batavia Manager, it was clear that for the safety of the County workforce, we should close County offices on the 23,” Landers said.  “We originally discussed closing early, but after discussions with the National Weather Service out of Buffalo, it was looking like the serious weather would be coming into Genesee County in the morning, and I didn’t want to subject the workforce to driving home in treacherous conditions.”

Having county offices closed on Friday would also free up some manpower that previously would have had to clear county-staffed parking lots, he said.

On the city side, after reviewing the predictions of flash freezing and gale force winds, combined with lake effect snow, "County Manager Matt Landers and I jointly decided to close City and County offices,” Tabelski said. 

“The less traffic on the roads and City streets tomorrow, the easier clean-up efforts will be,” she said Thursday night.

Management has continued to monitor county Emergency Management Director Tim Yaeger’s weather and storm reports.

“We are also in touch with National Grid to support their storm response,” Tabelski said. “National Grid is predicting multiple, and potentially long duration, outages within their territory.  They have over 1,000 line men/women and guards that will be dispatched throughout the region as needed for power outages and down wires."

As of 5 p.m. Friday, 1,700 Genesee County customers remained without power.

Tabelski reminds folks to “Never touch a down wire, and call 911 immediately!” 

City staff is monitoring Doppler radar and reports from the state DOT, Thruway Authority, NYS State Police, and Department of Homeland Security, “who are all involved with storm preparedness and storm response,” she said.

“We advise all residents and visitors to the City of Batavia to be cautious and careful as driving conditions change over the next 24 hours,” she said regarding Friday and Friday night.  “We hope that everyone has a very Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas!”

The storm has been estimated to run its course through 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Citizens have been urged to remain at home and off the streets per a Genesee County Sheriff's Office travel ban and a State of Emergency declared by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Throughout the day Friday, there have been multiple automobile accidents, along with some downed trees and utility wires. For more details about the day's events, go HERE.

And don't forget those beloved four-leggeds. American Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners to:

Know the limits: Just like people, pets' cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog's walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks.

Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing's disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets.

Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It's a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it's untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.

For more information about storm preparedness, the City of Batavia Fire Department has advice available HERE

File Photo of a previous winter storm in Batavia, by Howard Owens.

Authentically Local