CHEEKTOWAGA, NY - The NYS Thruway Authority Regional Offices on Cayuga Road were transformed into a command post this morning, to state officials a place to coordinate storm response in Western New York.
At the helm of the office was Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who is no stranger to WNY winters. The former Hamburg Town Council Member told 2 On Your Side that the storm here is nothing Western New Yorkers can't handle, but the unprecedented move by Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in all 43 counties was a case of being prepared for the worst while hoping for the best.
Winter Storm Stella is going to have the largest impact on the New York City area, but the size and scope of the storm is what prompted the declaration. Upstate Revitalization Director Richard Tobe says that with the disaster declaration in place across the state, it makes it easier to reallocate resources if needed. For example, two high lifts have been brought in from the Department of Transportation to assist sidewalk cleanup (if necessary) at Key Bank Center before the NCAA Tournament. City officials tell us they most likely won't be needed there, but could be utilized elsewhere if the snow starts piling up.
Resources have also been going away from WNY, with 40 D.O.T. personnel heading to help on Long Island. However, no equipment is moving, and the man-power will be replaced with overtime, so we don't get caught shorthanded on this end of the state.