CHEEKTOWAGA – With temperatures plummeting and the storm in full effect, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo joined local officials in Buffalo Wednesday to address the situation.
Forecasters expect around 11 inches of new snow in the to fall Buffalo area on Wednesday, overall reaching 24 inches since the storm begun.
Governor Cuomo said that the polar vortex could be very dangerous and citizens need to to take caution when traveling. Many road bans have already been put in place.
I-81 from Canada to I-90 closed at noon Wednesday. Travel bans are in effect on many other roadways as well including: I-190, 290, 480, US 219 from Peters Road, New York 5, 179, 190, and the thruway from Exit 49 to the Pennsylvania line.
Cuomo offered local officials additional equipment for snow removal from downstate if needed.
Officials said high winds could cause many power outages. These outages mixed with the frigid temperatures and the snow could be very dangerous.
Cuomo encouraged electric companies like NYSEG and National Grid to do a better job of communicating the amount of outages. He encouraged this because when the Emergency Outage Center knows about an outage, they can alert people and send help. These companies need to focus on the rural areas just as much outages in urban communities, Cuomo says.
The Governor said New York State Police will be enforcing travel bans more than in the past.
“We are not kidding about the tractor trailer ban and the bus ban. The fines are steep and you will be ticketed,” said Cuomo.
Officials want the roads to stay clear and safe.
“I want to say I know Western New York knows about snow and they can handle snow, but we’re looking at something different here now… the combination of snow plus the sub-zero temperatures, plus the wind; these are more complicated situations than we’ve dealt with in the past and they really are something to be taken seriously by everyone, and not just by the government officials, but by the citizens who are there and local officials. Everyone has to do their part and I’m sure they will.”