HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- Crews are on standby across Erie County, prepared for the first snowfall of the year.
“Hopefully it won’t be nearly as bad and we can stay with these warmer temperatures,” said Bill Geary, the Erie County Commissioner of Highways.
4 Warn Meteorologists predict 70 degree temperatures on Friday and then a cooldown and snowfall Sunday into Monday.
“In the Highway Department, we’ll be on call over the weekend if Sunday’s weather gets as bad as predicted,” said Geary.
Geary told News 4 they have been preparing for the first snowfall since Columbus Day. They’re getting the last few pieces of equipment ready for snow removal but they expect to have more than 40 plows on the roads.
The lack of snow so far this fall has helped crews finish up remaining work, according to Geary.
“Every day is an extra day in the bank for us to do some pothole repairs, roadside mowing, extra ditching work and getting equipment, last couple of pieces, ready before the winter,” he said.
In the Town of Hamburg, there are two salt barns and 12 snow plows ready.
Town Supervisor Steven Walters said they’ve also been preparing for months and town employees are ready to work overtime to get the roads clear.
News 4 asked Walters if the leaves still on trees are concerning.
“Because they’re starting to fall off, they’re starting to lose their grips on the trees so when it snows, if we get that kind of snow where it clings to the leaves, it’s more likely the leaves will get pulled off of the tree rather than accumulate the snow,” said Walters. “Certainly there’s always a concern and to a degree it’s a wait and see.”
Walters said the town is still picking up bags of leaves and if they don’t get them all, some will have to be picked up after the snow melts.
The Town of Amherst is asking residents not to rake leaves into piles on the road because that can cause problems if it snows before those can be picked up.
Amherst Highway Superintendent Patrick Lucey said they have about 100 pieces of equipment ready to clear snow and more than 100 employees on standby.
As local municipalities prepare, stores are also getting ready for a rush.
Gui’s Ace Hardware in Hamburg said they started stocking up on supplies about two months ago. Over the last month, Manager Jim Ziomek said they’ve seen an increase in customers looking for snow shovels, brushes and snow blowers.
Ziomek told News 4 the real boost in business will come after the first snowfall.
He has advice on the best produce to melt snow or ice.
“Rock salt is very harmful and most common but around the house, you want to use something with a calcium chloride,” said Ziomek. “If you have pets, there is pet safe product that is formulated differently, those are the safest to use.”
He also suggests customers buy a two stage, self-propelled snow blower.