Even with hundreds of pieces of equipment coming to Western New York from across the state and out-of-state on top of National Guardsmen deployed to the area, Governor Andrew Cuomo says it will be days before the Lake Effect snow mess is cleaned up.
Gov. Cuomo traveled to Cheektowaga Wednesday afternoon to brief the media on cleanup efforts and to survey the region for himself. He says it will be four to five days before crews can restore a sense of normalcy to Western New York.
The governor says with hundreds of cars abandoned, it impedes snow removal efforts. Even with the State DOT flushing county ranks with more than 350 personnel, it won't be enough to get rid of all the snow before the next bout of Lake Effect. Cuomo says the next danger is then flooding when temperatures go into the 50s this weekend into Monday.
Cuomo warns residents things will likely get worse before they get better and reminds everyone to obey travel bans. Anyone out on the roads may be ticketed and/or towed.
Mayor Byron Brown updated the media on the situation in South Buffalo, where he says crews have so far removed 5,000 tons of snow. The city has close to 100 vehicles working and will continue to work.
The State DOT will keep the NYS Thruway, Rt. 400 and Rt. 219 closed while cleanup efforts continue. Gov. Cuomo says crews believe they have assisted all stranded commercial vehicle drivers on the Thruway, which won't be opening anytime soon. He and County Executive Mark Poloncarz toured I-90 Wednesday and said the amount of snow and stranded vehicles are staggering.
Cuomo didn't shy away from saying that it was a mistake not to close I-90 sooner, which is currently closed from the PA line to Henrietta. However, he says people still drove onto the Thruway even after it was closed, and in comparison to the last time people were stranded, it still was handled better.
Though the governor estimates that this event is going to cost a large amount of money in cleanup and repairs, he says he is not certain it will meet FEMA requirements for aid. Cuomo says it depends on property damage amounts.