BUFFALO, NY - "We are in good shape,” said Buffalo’s Commissioner of Public Works, Parks & Streets Steven Stepniak, on the eve of what is expected to be the city’s first significant snowfall of the season.
“We have 27 pieces ready to go, we have 9,000 tons of salt, and we have crews all scheduled for the weekend. We have also have been staying in touch with all the weather stations and getting all the updates and information,” Stepniak said.
Stepniak has reason to be confident.
The winter storm forecast for late Saturday into early Monday, is expected to spare Buffalo its brunt.
The bulk of it is also expected to impact the area on the weekend, when school busses and commuters won’t even be of concern.
"I think the impact of this storm, being with the forecasters are predicting 1-3 inches of snow for the city, is a minimal storm for us that we'll be able to handle that without much problem," Stepniak told WGRZ-TV.
Part of the city’s preparations, also included picking up leaves in advance of the snowfall, and we found crews doing just that on Friday, taking advantage of sunshine and mild temperature which reached near 70 degrees before they are forecast to plummet during the weekend.
"We ask our residents to bag leaves. It makes it a lot easier so you don't have those sewer and drainage problems that other communities may have when they put the leaves in the street. And, after a snow event like this we can still go back and collect those leaves, “Stepniak said.
The leaves are ultimately taken to a city yard on Seneca Street, where both the leaves and any bags they may be in are composted or recycled.
"We actually have a contractor who processes our leaves, and even has a machine that spins, which takes the bags off and he actually recycles those bags,” Stepniak said.
Whatever the weekend brings, it certainly won’t be like what portions of South Buffalo and several surrounding suburbs found itself digging out of two years, when the winter season was ushered in by up to seven feet of snow in a storm called “Snowvember”.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 on Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and photojournalist Dooley O’Rourke.