Weekend News Brief
Written by Tom Tharp on December 24, 2022
Winter Storm Elliott Continues to hit Genesee County and the rest of Western New York. The Blizzard Warning continues through Saturday and into Sunday at 7am. The high winds of up to 70 miles per hour will continue, up to 3 feet of snow could fall across the region. The wind will drive temperatures down as low as negative 30 degrees. Travel will be difficult to impossible due to drifting snow. Trees and power lines being down could cause power outages.
Roughly 2000 customers were without power Friday as the storm knocked out service. Elba Central School, Oakfield Fire Department, Alabama Hotel, and several other locations were turned into warming centers for stranded travelers or people who were without power. First responders were heavily engaged in getting out to cars reported stranded in the snow off the roads. Finding lost people in the snow, and directing people to shelter. The Thruway has been closed from Henrietta to Pennsylvania to all non-emergency traffic. The Sheriffs Department for Genesee County has declared a travel ban on all non emergency traffic.
Closings and Cancellations: Ascension Parish has canceled masses for Saturday and Sunday. They will not be livestreamed. St Paul Lutheran Church has canceled Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. First United Methodist Church has canceled Christmas Eve Services. Tops and Wegmans have closed their stores in Erie, Niagara, Genesee Orleans and Wyoming Counties for the weekend. They plan to reopen on Monday.
A cancelation that has nothing to do with the winter storm is that of the statewide gas tax suspension. The regular gas taxes are set to go back into place at the end of the year. Governor Hochul says they need the revenue from the gas taxes to maintain the roads. The winter storm that hit Buffalo with several feet of snow just a few weeks ago cost an estimated 2 million dollars. Gas prices continue a downward trajectory — a national average is $3.09, New York has an average of $3.43, and the Capital Region is averaging $3.41 a gallon, all of these numbers coming from AAA. The gas tax suspension saved drivers just under 20 cents a gallon.