Morning News Brief
Written by Tom Tharp on December 28, 2022
The U of R medical campus north of the Highway on Call Parkway has had to shut down for the rest of the week as several pipes froze and burst. The pipes are being repaired but a lot of water did flood the building according to Kim Hally Hettrick. Patients will be directed to go to LeRoy, Brockport or Brighton for services. Frozen pipes are nothing new in Upstate and Western NY. The week before Christmas a water main burst in Rochester and flooded several street and caused water to be shut off for nearly half the city and another burst at Strong in their Medical Research building causing extensive damage across 5 floors.
The Buffalo Police Department has announced the start of a task force to investigate blizzard break-ins and said eight arrests have been made as of Tuesday afternoon. According to police, the task force is searching through social media videos and asking for residents to contact the confidential tip line at (716) 847-2255. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the department has had to divert resources away from recovery missions because the crime that is occurring cannot be ignored.
On Tuesday, as more people in Western New York were allowed to travel once again, Erie County’s Executive continued to release tragic information about the storm. Mark Poloncarz reporting the death toll in his county is now at 28. This, in addition to at least two deaths outside the county. Poloncarz said two originally reported storm deaths were found to be unrelated to the weather, but three additional deaths were confirmed in the past 24 hours. “Unfortunately, @BPD alerts expects that number to rise,” Mayor Byron Brown tweeted about deaths in the city. “Our hearts and prayers go out to their family members.” The city of Buffalo remains under a driving ban. Portions of Route 5 are also still closed heading south through Lackawanna and Hamburg. County Executive Poloncarz is reporting additional outside help coming in to support efforts in the county. 100 military police and additional troopers will be aiding with traffic control and ticketing in Buffalo for anyone violating the travel ban. We know at least 15 troopers from Central New York were deployed to assist. New Jersey State Police are coming into downstate New York to supplement those troopers being diverted to Buffalo. There are still significant time delays for emergency services in Buffalo because of road conditions.
After working round the clock since Friday, National Grid has announced that nearly all customers that lost power have had it restored. 107,700 residents in Western NY lost power due to the ice and high winds. 98 percent of them, or 105,700 of them have it back. The historic multi-day blizzard brought hurricane-force winds and more than 50 inches of heavy, wet snow to the region. National Grid’s field force of nearly 3,000 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers will remain on the ground and continue to partner with state and local agencies to gain access to the remaining damage so that repairs can be completed.