Crews in Erie County, Buffalo prepare for winter weather

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)- The wintry weather on Sunday caused a problem for drivers in Hamburg when part of Route 5 was closed because of flooding.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” said Dan Neaverth, commissioner of Erie County Dept. of Emergency Services. “We’ve been through this and by ‘we’ I mean all of the towns, villages and cities. It’s a team effort.”

Being prepared for the storm was a stop priority for people across Western New York.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “We’re more prepared than we’ve been in the past.”

Over the last year Erie County has increased personnel and equipment.

“The fact the fact you have a lot of equipment, it’s more about the procedure of implementing that so that everybody, including crews, remain safe,” said Neaverth.

The county has newer and additional resources at its disposal for the lake effect event. The state has also deployed multiple plows to the Western New York region.

“I think there’s been a greater reliance on each other,” said Hochul. “The state just doesn’t make decisions living in a vacuum.”

The City of Buffalo also stepped up its snow fighting strategy.

“We’ve got new spreader bodies and new tandem trucks, which is the core to snow removal in these circumstances,” said Steven Stepniak, the commission of public works for Buffalo.

This is the first major event for the area this year.

“A lot of it is experience and as our truck drivers and supervisors get to more and more events, we become more in tune to what’s going on up here,” said Stepniak.

County and city officials told News 4 crews have been going on dry runs, driving their routes without any snow to get prepared for what’s to come.

“We feel confident in our plan and we’ve modified our plan over the last seven or eight years to fit a lot of needs for the residents,” said Stepniak.

In Erie County, Dan Neaverth said, “Everyone takes this very, very seriously. We just hope the public takes them seriously.”

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