NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New York has been dealing with snow since Monday evening, and it’s added up in some places that usually miss the brunt of the winter snow storms.
Niagara County drivers had a difficult morning commute Wednesday.
People in Niagara Falls were urged not to travel unless necessary, under a travel advisory that was originally set to expire at 7 a.m. That was then extended until 10 a.m. before being extended until at least 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Around 10 a.m. Wednesday, when Niagara Falls city leaders made the call to extend the travel advisory again, the official snow total over the previous 24 hours was about 14 inches. Many places around the city saw snow piled much deeper than that, especially where drifting was an issue.
Lockport had even more snow, making for a very difficult morning commute there.
The snow just kept coming down and the wind kept getting stronger throughout the morning, creating near white out conditions at times.
Our crews who were out monitoring the roads during the commute saw snow-covered and snow-packed roads throughout Niagara County, and reported very slippery conditions that caused numerous cars to go off the roads into ditches.
Several other cars were spotted stuck in snow banks.
At one point Wednesday morning, our News 4 crew spotted a Niagara Falls plow driver helping push a car out of a snow bank at an intersection in the city.
Private plow drivers have also been helping strangers, too. “One of the plow guys who actually is plowing in the neighborhood here, he saw my boyfriend and I come home last night and he ended up just plowing for us,” said one Niagara Falls resident, Claire Browning.
The city of Niagara Falls also got much-needed help from state DOT and Thruway Authority plows as they continued to fight the falling snow.
“We faced a situation yesterday evening where our crews had been on duty for so long we had to send people, by law, home to get some sleep so we were short staffed overnight. That’s why the state assistance was very helpful,” explained Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
“We’re back up at full strength this morning and back out on the roads,” he added.
Even so, there’s a lot of clean up still to do.
Plow crews have had to prioritize cleaning the main roads, leaving secondary roads and alleys for much later.
They have to continually clean the main roads, too, because the snow has continued falling and the wind has continued blowing snow back over lanes that have already been cleared.
Many local businesses are closed Wednesday while city crews continue digging the city out.
Niagara Falls’ senior center and public library are also closed for the day.