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Top Buffalo official shoulders blame for late blizzard travel ban


Officials in Erie County, New York, took full responsibility Wednesday for issuing a travel ban that many residents criticized as coming too late to stop people from driving after bearing the brunt of last week’s historic snowstorm. said he would be responsible for

Erie County Chief Executive Mark Polonkers tweeted that he wasn’t sure if enacting the ban early would change anything.

Counties, including Buffalo, announced a travel ban just before 9 a.m. Friday and gave drivers a 41-minute reminder because many of them were driving to work. The ban took effect minutes before 79 mph winds hit the area. The timing of the ban has become one of the flashpoints as western New York grapples with the aftermath of a storm that has claimed at least 37 lives in Erie County.

County officials had been pleading with people to stay home and close businesses, but those were merely recommendations.Last Thursday, the day before the storm, Residents pleaded with top emergency officials to enact a ban, with more than a dozen people on Facebook and Twitter posting and replying to updates on Polonkarts, citing the ferocious rush of the holiday weekend. They said they would still be forced to work.

Erie County officials provided an update on the ongoing recovery on Dec. 29 after a historic storm hit the Buffalo area over the holiday weekend. (Video: Reuters)

Earlier that morning, “life-threatening conditions” and “dangerously strong” winds were invading Buffalo, according to forecasts. At a press conference early Friday morning, the Polonkers took home just how dangerous the blizzard can be. During his tenure, he said, he had only twice shown weather events to have “extreme impact” by the National Weather Service. Six minutes after the ban took effect, Polonkers shared on his Facebook that the Buffalo Weather Service recorded winds of 72 mph and he 79 mph in the area. Already he had nearly 13,000 people without power.

The executive’s comments are the latest under increasing scrutiny as to how officials spent enough time warning residents to prepare for a historic blizzard that they appeared not to have properly prepared for. is the development of

At a news conference on Wednesday, Polonkers said officials who decide when to issue driving bans will have forecasts showing the Stormbands won’t hit until mid-morning and night shift workers to be able to go home. “If someone should be blamed, you can blame me,” he said. “It is I who will make the final decision on behalf of the county.”

He also accused the Buffalo leaders of failing to plow the roads quickly and efficiently so that people could get out of their homes and get food and heat. He accused Mayor Byron W. Brown’s administration of failing to coordinate local and state responses, and said no one in the city attended daily calls to elected officials.

Polonkers said the county will eventually take over cleanup work for one-third of Buffalo and is in talks with state officials about handling all of the city’s snow clearing operations during an upcoming major storm. I’m here.

“The mayor is not happy to hear that, but after storm, storm, storm, storm – unfortunately this city is the last to open and it shouldn’t be. said Polonkers. Said. “It’s embarrassing to tell the truth”

Brown has deflected Polonkers’ advice and defended his handling of Blizzard preparation and response. He stuck to his story of being “adequately informed.”

“We did everything we could before and during the storm,” the mayor said.

However, residents do not feel that way.

People on Twitter once again shared their anger and frustration in response to Poloncarz’s tweet referring to his decision to impose the ban.

“Absolutely everything could have been changed,” one user replied. He went on to explain that when the ban was announced, people had already gone to work and bought supplies. It wouldn’t have happened.”