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Assessing snow storm response

"We made it very clear what our expectations were"
Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 17:46:30-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — "And to get where we are even today is still way ahead of the pace in 2014,” remarked Dan Neaverth, Jr., commissioner, Erie County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services.

With record-breaking snow in Hamburg and Orchard Park, Erie County is assessing with other town, city, and village leaders on how they reacted to this historic lake effect storm.  

Dan Neaverth, Jr., commissioner, Erie County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services.

Neaverth tells me that compared to the aftermath of the November 2014 storm, clean-up efforts are way ahead of where we were 8 years ago.

“So we looked at after 2014 what could we do better. I think we did a really good job on that. Now we are going to take a look and we'll figure out what we can do to manage a little bit better,” explained Neaverth.

Days before the storm, the county announced plans, and last Thursday the state closed the New York State Thruway to all truck traffic to prevent tractor-trailers from jackknifing as they did in 2014.  

But keeping truck traffic off the thruway caused major backups stranding trucks and vehicles along main routes here in Hamburg and in orchard park.

Lake effect snow in Hamburg.

“Unfortunately when you all of sudden decide you are going to do that truck drivers are pretty savvy and they're going to try to find routes even if those are routes maybe wouldn't normally take them on some of the roads,” noted Neaverth.

But Neaverth tells me the truck traffic gridlock was also caused by people who headed out after refusing to listen to warnings to stay off the roads.  

“I think during the course of the storm we made it very clear what our expectations were and we still had a lot of pushback from individuals,” said Neaverth.

orchard park snow.jpg
Snow in Orchard Park.

Neaverth says being proactive, such as closing schools and roads ahead of the weather also garnered complaints from the public asking why they are shutting down before the snow flies.  

“It's a balance — a delicate balance. It's a decision that has to be made. we'll make those tough decisions. We're not afraid to do that,” replied Neaverth.

“Dan, if you had to grade it for yourself — what letter grade would you give your whole group, and what you did?” Buckley asked. 

“I would grade it pass-fail because I always did that when I was in college. I would grade it pass, but also keeping in mind comes the room for improvement — we'll have after actions, and then when we next time get eight feet of snow, hopefully, we'll have all of the things fine-tuned a little bit more,” responded Neaverth.