Municipalities declare emergency states, driving bans

Jan 7, 2014

States of Emergency have been declared in the City of Lackawanna, Orchard Park, the town of Evans, and the villages of Angola, Depew, Tonawanda, and Kenmore.

Man crossing the street during the blizzard.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

A driving ban is currently in effect for Kenmore. Village of Kenmore clerk-treasurer Kathleen Johnson lives just two blocks away from the village municipal building. She described driving in the blizzard as the worst drive of her life. 

“It is very circular, you can tell it’s actually moving around. You'll have these very brief periods where you can actually see across the street and then a minute later it's a complete white out,” said Johnson.

Johnson says village of Kenmore officials are urging residents not to drive in this storm.

“The state of emergency for us is giving us more flexibility in terms of our ability to control and restrict traffic.  Also, obviously if there are any costs," said Johnson.

The City of Lackawanna is still experiencing whiteout conditions on area roadways due to blowing snow. Police Captain Robert Janowski explains the weather pattern there. 

A snow covered vehicle sits in a parking lot near the thruway.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

“The streets are plowed fairly well. It’s the visibility that’s creating the problems for us, and we’re getting many cars stuck even though there’s a driving ban in effect,” said Janowski.

Janowski says police are turning drivers away from venturing through the city of Lackawanna. He is advising people to stay home.

In Orchard Park Assistant Chief of Police Joe Wehrfritz says lot of people ignoring the driving ban in effect there and getting stranded in their cars.

“Just because it looks like it’s lightening up a little bit the roads are not clear, the snow is drifting over, and when you get stuck not only do you endanger yourself, you endanger any possible responding officers, because you’re putting them out into that subzero temperature as well,” said Wehrfritz.

The cold and snowy weather whips through downtown Buffalo.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

Wehrfritz says if you do get stranded not to go outside of your car.

“Don’t travel outside of your vehicle, because you won’t last long unless you’re really prepared for it,” said Wehrfritz.

Tickets will be issued to those who ignore the Lackawanna and Orchard Park driving bans.

Driving bans are also posted in Orchard Park, West Seneca, East Aurora, and the town of Aurora, Wales, Eden, Blasdell, Brant, Angola, Hamburg, North Tonawanda, and all of Genesee County. 

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt said the driving ban will be in effect until 9p.m. In addition, the Common Council meeting scheduled for 6:30p.m.has been canceled.