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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6:58 am

Travel advisory issued for Genesee County (Lifted)

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

The Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory for Genesee County:

A travel advisory has been issued for all of Genesee County as of 0540 hrs. There are numerous accidents due to icy road conditions.

UPDATE 6:40 a.m.: Two-hour delays for schools: Batavia City, Attica, Alexander, Elba, Notre Dame.

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: The travel advisory has been lifted. Also, the Richmond Memorial Library has delayed opening until 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6:41 am

Icy road conditions predicted for this morning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo warns of a patchy, freezing drizzle with accumulations of a trace of ice.

Temperatures will be in the low 30s throughout the morning.

Expect slick spots on untreated roads.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Snow removal during harsh winter remains a challenge for city

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, weather

At least one Downtown business owner doesn't think the city is doing enough to address snow removal and he's not convinced the city cares.

Snow piled up on sidewalks and in parking lots costs bars, restaurants and retail shops money, said Derek Geib, owner of Bourbon & Burger Co. on Jackson Street, and the city loses sales tax revenue.

He thinks the city could be more aggressive about finding a solution.

Geib, along with other business owners, met with city officials earlier this winter and were told city work crews act as quickly as possible to remove snow, but there's only so many workers and so many hours they can work.

That isn't a good enough answer, Geib said.

"Accepting this as just the way it is is not an option," Geib said. "It is directly affecting just about every business Downtown. It needs to be addressed and something needs to be proposed as a solution. Reallocate BID funds, raise taxes, cut something else. Jason (City Manager Jason Molino) needs to sit down and address this. That's my only request. We can't just 'deal with it.' This is 2015. I'm sure someone has some solution somewhere."

Molino said, actually, snow pile-up this winter is something every municipality in the Northeast is dealing with this winter.

Unrelenting cold, near record snowfall, and storms spread out at a pace that keeps workers tied up and makes it impossible to keep up with the mounds of frozen water.

"This February has absolutely been challenging to say the least when it comes to snow removal," Molino said. "From Buffalo to Boston, everyone is having the same conversation. It's not just us with this problem. It's the circumstances of the type of weather we're having, and now we're about to get hammered with another snow and ice event, which means our guys will be out far into the night and perhaps into the morning, which means they're not going to be removing snow tomorrow."

The "not enough workers" answers isn't a good one, Geib said.

"We shouldn't as a city accept that things are just the way they are," Geib said. "If there aren't enough employees to actually do the task at hand then people should be made aware of that and budgets should be adjusted. If garbage wasn't getting picked up, it would be an issue. Snow removal is no different. There is a solution, but the City Manager has to recognize there is a problem first."

Molino said he does recognize there's an issue, but without unlimited resources, there's only so much the city can do.

"I understand and sympathize with the frustration business owners feel over snow accumulation," Molino said. "When there's manpower available, we remove the snow from the parking lots and then from the sidewalks. We do the best we can with the manpower we have."

This has been an incredibly difficult and challenging winter for the city's DPW and Water Department workers, as it has been for municipal employees throughout New York, he said.

The constant use of snow-removal equipment also puts a strain on city resources because inevitably, equipment breaks down and needs to be repaired, Molino said.

Under the circumstances, he said, he thinks they've done an incredible job.

Batavia has also been plagued by a series of water line breaks. Typically, those are handled by the Water Department, but the night of the River Street break, Water Department employees were already out helping with plowing and salting, and with the break, the city's already overextended DPW workers had to help with that nasty and complicated break.

"They went from plowing roads to jumping into a water-filled hole on the coldest night of the year," Molino said. "We've had a series of water line breaks in very poor weather and some of these have been large, deep digs that make the job very challenging. Throw on top of that, sub-zero weather, that makes the job very challenging."

Monday, March 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Winter weather advisory issued for Tuesday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, weather

It's been a bit nasty out today, but at least it's not sub-zero.

There's more winter weather on the way, too.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a winter weather advisory for noon Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The forecast is for a mix of snow and freezing rain and sleet. 

Snow accumulations of one to two inches and ice of a tenth of an inch.  

Visibilty will be less than a mile at times.

Caution when traveling is advised.

Top Photo: Ray Tortorice walks his Cub Cadet on Trumbull Parkway to clear snow from his walk and his neighbor's walk this afternoon. Bottom photo: a tree in Centennial Park.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Too cold for too long

post by Howard B. Owens in Emergency Dispatch, weather

Every evening the on-duty fire dispatcher comes on-air at 1800 hours with a time check, temperature and any fire service announcements.

Tonight the dispatcher informed us "current temperature is 91 degrees," but as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she corrected herself.

"Nine degrees."

Wishful thinking, maybe?

Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Weather advisory warns of snow and freezing drizzle

post by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, weather

A winter weather advisory has been issued for snow and freezing drizzle through 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The National Weather Service anticipates snow through this evening, then areas of freezing drizzle after midnight through Sunday morning.

Look for from two to five inches of snow and then a trace of ice.

Travel conditions could be difficult.

Visibility could drop to less than a mile.

Photos: Taken around noon on Route 33 in Stafford.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Closures and cancellations for Friday, Feb. 20

post by Howard B. Owens in weather
  • Oakfield-Alabama: "This is a message from the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District. Due to the anticipated cold temperatures and wind chill students will not have school tomorrow, Friday, February 20th. All faculty and staff are still required to report as Friday will now be a Superintendent’s Conference Day. This unplanned change to the calendar will result in students attending school on Monday, April 27th which was originally planned as a conference day. Please make note of this change on your calendar. Extracurricular activities are not canceled at this time, except for the elementary super hero party. The party will be rescheduled for a later date.  Please stay safe and warm tomorrow!"
  • Elba Central Schools: As a result, tonight's production of CATS has been rescheduled as a matinee for 2 p.m., tomorrow. The 7 p.m. performance tomorrow will go on as scheduled. (Look for photos on The Batavian later today from last night's dress rehearsal.)
  • Alexander Central School
  • Notre Dame High School
  • Pavilion Central School District
  • Pembroke Central School District

Send closures and cancellations to howard@thebatavian.com.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Weather: A warming trend not far off

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

If you're the optimistic sort, you might look at the 30-day forecast and choose to believe it. If you believe it, we'll have two days of single-degree temperatures Thursday and Friday, and after a 30-degree weekend, 10 degrees on Monday, and then things start to look up considerably. March 1 should be 30 and never lower the rest of the month heading into spring.

Of course, 30-day forecasts are notoriously unreliable.

But perhaps you're an optimist.

Meanwhile, an inch or two of snow tonight and bone-chilling wind for a couple of days. And then we can hope.

Photo: Ellicott Street behind Save-A-Lot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Wind chill warning in effect from midnight through midmorning Friday

post by Billie Owens in weather

A wind chill warning has been issued by the National Weather Service and it will be in effect from midnight through 10 a.m. Friday in WNY.

Winds will be 10 to 20 mph with wind chill values as low as minus 35 degrees. The wind will make it feel like it's 25 degrees below zero or colder for several hours.

Dangerous cold and threatening wind chills will be possible by Thursday night and this could lead to frostbite and hypothermia if you are outside and not properly dressed.

"Those planning to venture outdoors should use common sense and dress warmly."

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

Weather: Single-digit cold to hold on today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

It's minus two degrees in Batavia. The good news is, we're going to see a warming trend through the afternoon, all the way up to five degrees.

There are no weather alerts posted at the moment.

The photo is of the spillway on the Tonawanda Creek behind the County Courthouse from about 30 minutes ago.

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