Authorities are urging people to stay home and avoid dangerous travel conditions as a winter storm sweeping through much of the country sweeps through New York state.
As many as 250 people may have been trapped in vehicles in Erie County Friday night, according to the Buffalo mayor.
“We’re trying to get the word out because this storm was forecast,” Mayor Byron Brown told CNN’s Jim Sciutto, warning “people Should be in Buffalo, should be reunited with families by Thursday knowing the storm will hit at 7 a.m. on Friday and won’t abate until Sunday, Monday. “
Police, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were trying to rescue people from vehicles, Byron said, adding that 36 to 48 inches of snow and wind gusts of 79 mph were forecast.
The Erie County 911 call system has been overwhelmed with calls, County Executive Mark Polonkaz tweeted Friday night.
“The magnitude of this storm cannot be overstated. E-911 and Central Police Department are reporting unprecedented call volumes and conditions making it nearly impossible for first responders to operate,” Poloncarz tweeted.
“Please reserve 911 calls for your most life-critical matters.”
Kathy Hochul has activated the National Guard to help in Erie County, the governor’s office announced Friday night in a statement. Deployed guards are expected to be on the ground in the next few hours.
“I want to assure New Yorkers that all of our state resources are being used to help storm recovery efforts and we are coordinating closely with local officials across the state,” Hochul said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, the Long Beach branch’s service long island railroad The railway said on Twitter that it was fully restored after Friday morning’s flooding.
“Long Beach Spur service has fully resumed on both tracks following infrastructure issues caused by flooding conditions. Customers can expect possible remaining delays,” the tweet said.