BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo has a reputation for being a winter wonderland. For some people heading this way for the NCAA basketball tournament, it’ll be more like a getaway as the east coast is supposed to be slammed with a nor’easter, impacting parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.
Many fans, players, and coaches coming from those areas for the tournament are finding they are having to make last minute changes to travel plans to make sure they’re ready for their games.
Eight NCAA teams will be playing in Buffalo this week. Several teams are facing an unexpected and unseeded opponent but maybe their toughest one yet — Mother Nature.
“The team is adjusting for the weather,” said Andrew Borders, Princeton Basketball’s assistant director for athletic communications. “We’re expecting to leave today.”
Overall number one seed Villanova, Princeton and Bucknell are changing their travel plans while sticking to the same game plan. They’re three schools in the big dance that are also located in the path of a big storm. The three schools’ basketball programs are heading into town today to avoid any travel issues.
“In a non-weather situation, Tuesday would’ve been the usual travel time,” said Borders.
“You look at a nor’easter that’s coming in over there and it’s going to be much more extreme,” said Steve Stepniak, the City of Buffalo Public Works commissioner. “They’re not going to get totally out of the snow but we won’t have that blizzard.”
The city’s public works commissioner says they’ve been preparing and will be on top of their game — ready to clear snow covered sidewalks and streets.
“We will deal with it. We have plenty of salt on hand. Crews are anxious to get out there and get the job done.”
Commissioner Stepniak says safety is always a top priority during winter storms and feels the increased number of people who will be in the downtown area when this one rolls through, makes it critical that everyone is prepared.
“We’re going to have a lot of people who are unfamiliar with the area,” said Commissioner Stepniak. “Driver alertness and preparation are key in elements like this and snow adds to awareness you have to have.”
The commissioner says the streets department is ready to show off the Queen City to thousands of eager fans.
“Give yourself an ample opportunity to get to where you need to go. Don’t try to crunch it in- get to know the city and have a pleasant experience.”