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Salt barns are stocked and snow plows are being put on, local municipalities prepare for the winter ahead

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Tuesday brought a mixture of weather conditions — from sunny skies, to hail — to snow. Packing for your day in Erie County can be difficult.

But as the weather is starting to change, local municipalities are preparing for the winter ahead.

“How diverse and how wide of a region Erie County is, you can go from beautiful weather, to a snowstorm within a matter of minutes,” said Bill Geary, Erie County’s Commissioner of Public Works. “Our mechanics are extremely busy right now, the staff is balancing both worlds.”

While it is only October, they are looking ahead for when the flakes fall. With Erie County being right next to Lake Erie, Geary believes it best if the county prepares the most throughout the state, because of the lake effect snow.

“I think our preparation always pays off though,” said Geary, “All the equipment obviously being serviced, going over training for a lot of the newer employees–the crews are extremely busy.”

The county has over 1,200 miles of roads to take care of throughout the winter, and they roughly have about 20,000 tons of salt stocked up throughout the county.

The County Public Works are working on efficiency on their routes by getting more drivers trained–and they’re also working on public outreach as winter rolls in.

“We’ve been ready for that mid-October blast of winter that we saw a little bit this morning, nothing major but the crews are actively doing both right now. Some of the summer projects as well as winter maintenance,” said Geary.

For Amherst Highway Department, they’re currently using their trucks to pick up leaves everyday and plan to do so for the next six weeks.

“Ideally, we pick up the leaves by the end of November and we can hook up all of our trucks and plows and make sure everything is still working properly,” said Patrick Lucey, Highway Superintendent of Amherst. “Fortunately the last couple seasons it’s been relatively snow free, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been thinking about it.”

Amherst has over 50 trucks to put on the road to help with snow clean-up, and Lucey says once those flakes fall, they should be ready.

“We try to prepare as much as we can for it, our mechanics are constantly going over our trucks to make sure everything is in working condition, but some of the trucks haven’t been used a whole lot since last snow season,” said Lucey.

Parking bans in Amherst return starting November 1 and Lucey encourages everyone to help ease snow clean up by following the street parking rules.

“If the vehicles are off of the streets, it’s easier for our crews to clear the roads. If they have to go around cars and navigate around those, it makes it more difficult and time confusing.” said Lucey, “If you don’t have to park in the street — don’t.”

For more information about the Erie County Public Works, for jobs, and to track where plows are heading to their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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