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The Erie County Department of Health today offered advice to homeowners considering using alternative methods to heat their homes in the event of a power outage caused by the winter storm.“Everyone needs to be mindful of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Dr. Gale Burnstein, Erie County’s health commissioner. “Improper use of generators or portable space heate…

Consider it a late-arriving visitor from the North Pole, or a hurricane without the palm trees. The polar vortex chilling much of the country – including Western New York – is a large-scale “cyclonic circulation” generated when cold air from the frozen Arctic comes into contact with relatively warmer bodies of water, unfrozen patches of ocean. The National Snow and Ice Dat…

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this afternoon announced that parts of the Thruway in Western New York will be closed starting this afternoon due to extreme winter weather conditions. Starting at 3 p.m., the Thruway between Exit 55 (Route 219/Lackawanna/Springville/Orchard Park/West Seneca) and Exit 61 (Shortman Road, Ripley) will be closed to commercial vehicles at 3 p.m. Starting a…

The Buffalo City Mission has issued a Code Blue weather alert for today and Tuesday. The mission, 100 E. Tupper St., will be open all day and night to receive people escaping the winter storm and frigid temperatures.St. Luke’s Mission, 325 Walden Ave., also is open for the homeless.The City of Buffalo announced 11 warming centers will be open today and Tuesday, and possibl…

A number of community activities have been affected by today’s winter weather and the prospect of worsening conditions tonight and Tuesday:• Although Erie County employees are to report to work, county offices – including health clinics and the Department of Social Services – will be closed to the public on Tuesday.• A forum to discuss the state’s Common Core education st…

During dangerously cold weather, people must take a close look at how they care for their animals, who can suffer or be severely injured by exposure.“Animals’ schedules become routine, and I think at a time like this, common sense must prevail over routine,” said Gina Browning, public relations director for the SPCA Serving Erie County. “I know people don’t do things inten…

Buffalo Public Schools officials have cancelled all student and Adult Education after-school activities for today because of the impending storm. This includes all scheduled afternoon and evening parent and community meetings, as well as after-school practices and clubs.Parents were advised to plan for students to be released at regular dismissal times.Decisions about Tues…

AAA of Western and Central New York has issued a set of “cold weather car tips” in anticipation of the high winds, snow and wind chills expected to arrive today:• Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up and ensure that you have extra “running time” if the weather is unfavorable.• Be sure you have the proper amount of antifreeze in your vehicle. An…

Business

There was no escaping travel impacts of the Blizzard of ’14.The local blizzard wasn’t just throwing a monkey wrench into ground travel, as dozens of flights were canceled Monday at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, despite the fact that the airport officially remained open.“The runways are open,” said C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA spokesman, late Monday. “The airlines ha…

Frostbite and hypothermia constitute the two major health threats from prolonged exposure to cold temperature.The most common injury is frostbite, according to the National Safety Council and other organizations. It’s caused by skin freezing, with a loss of feeling and color in the affected areas – usually the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes.Symptoms include num…

The first blow from today’s winter storm – the gusty winds overnight – didn’t knock out the power for many Western New Yorkers.Fewer than 1,000 customers in Erie County were without electricity by late Monday morning, as power lines withstood the high winds that came with the leading edge of the storm.But that doesn’t mean there won’t be more problems, especially in areas …

Local News

A state of emergency has been declared for all Western New York counties and a portion of the Thruway and routes 219 and 400 for all traffic have been closed since 8 tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties.Westbound traffic is being detoured from the Thruway at Exit 50 (the 290) and eastbound traffic at Exi…

Erie County officials are in preparation mode, readying plans to plow roads and provide emergency services, as temperatures begin to plummet and high winds and lake effect snow begin to whip across the region. But a spokesman said county offices will remain open during the storm and the services they provide will be available to county residents.“We want just want people …

Local News

In terms of the lake-effect snow alone, with as much as 3 feet expected in some areas, the storm battering Western New York today and Tuesday could qualify as a once-in-a-winter storm.But when the high winds and ghastly wind-chill temperatures are tossed into this wintry mix, this becomes a much more dangerous storm, perhaps a once-in-a-decade event, National Weather Servi…

Locally, the region will be face tough conditions starting early Monday, a mix of high winds, plunging temperatures and, depending on where you live, perhaps lots of snow. “We’ve got multipronged hazards we’re looking at,” said Jeff Wood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.Overnight rain was expected to possibly change over to snow Monday morning, with light…