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State says it's ready as 'storm for the ages' begins

Over 7,000 utility workers, 2,000 plows, countless chainsaws and generators are on standby for the "kitchen sink" storm says Gov. Kathy Hochul.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul was pretty blunt about the winter storm heading towards Western New York. 

"It will be nasty, it will be brutish and I hope to God it's short," Hochul said while in Niagara Falls. 

Hochul says that 7,500 utility workers have been mobilized to help with power outages during the storm. Some of those crews come from as far away as Texas to provide assistance. 

A state of emergency has been announced by Governor Hochul, in addition to a commercial travel ban on the Thruway beginning Friday at 6 a.m. 

The DOT is implementing commercial bans on several roads they control as well. 

"We've already banned empty tractor trailers and tandem tractor trailers from the 190, the 990, the 290, the 33, the 400 and Route 219, beginning at 6 a.m. Friday morning," Susan Surdej, public information officer for the NYSDOT. "We don't want to take a chance of tractor trailers getting jackknifed snagging any traffic."

Surdej says while the last big storm is was only a few weeks ago, they are constantly adjusting emergency response plans, and have done so for this storm. 

"We're bringing in 60 plus extra bodies to help us manage the snow removal efforts," Surdej said. "It's not only snow removal, but our operation staff also has to take care of those trees and the signals, so there's a lot going on."

For the New York State Police, their big focus is keeping people off of the road, particularly if it's closed. 

Trooper James O'Callaghan says you could be ticketed if you bypass a barrier to one of the major roads that are closed. 

"Those roads are closed, which means nobody's on them," O'Callaghan said. "That means they've taken the plow units and different pieces of equipment and are utilizing them in different areas to maintain those roads."

"So if you go around one of these barriers and you find yourself and an unplowed Thruway or a chunk of roadway that's closed, no one's going to be out there to help you out."


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