Niagara Gazette — Winter’s latest blast dumped 9 inches of snow on the Niagara Falls area Wednesday.
It also led to travel advisories, closed government buildings and a host of canceled afternoon activities.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency, closing Interstate 84 between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania borders until midafternoon.
In the Falls, Mayor Paul Dyster’s office issued a travel advisory as heavy snows fell across the city Wednesday afternoon in an effort to keep streets clear for DPW snowplows.
“We’re trying to limit the number of people that are on the road because it inhibits our ability to clean things up,” the mayor said.
Dyster’s administration, which has been criticized in recent weeks for its snow-removal response, consulted with members of the city council Wednesday before adding additional manpower and equipment to tend to the roads.
By 3 p.m., Dyster said the department of public works had 21 pieces of snow-removal equipment on the job, including several units dedicated to city alleys and parking lots. He said additional drivers were called in as well.
The city even tried to call in additional road salt, with supplies running low, but was unsuccessful. Dyster said he contacted the state comptroller’s office Wednesday in an effort to purchase salt from neighboring municipalities but was told he couldn’t do that.
A shipment of road salt to the city was expected today.
Officials in other parts of Niagara County have expressed similar concerns about road salt supplies.
Dyster also encouraged residents to help with the cleanup effort Wednesday and in the coming days by making sure they park in their driveways or adhere to on-street parking rules where they are applicable.
As the snow continued to fall Wednesday, county officials first announced that all non-essential county offices would be closing and then enacted a countywide travel ban for the duration of Wednesday’s storm, which was forecasted to end about 10 p.m.
Schools and government offices are all expected to be open for business today.