BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — While Buffalo Public Schools decided to close ahead of Friday’s bitter cold, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz does not expect most other districts to follow suit.
During a Thursday press conference, Poloncarz said he spoke to Michael Cornell, the president of the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association, who indicated that most school districts other than the City of Buffalo would remain open Friday. If the forecast changes, districts could change their mind.
“They have a formula that they use, which is usually when they have a temperature around minus 18 to minus 20 degrees,” Poloncarz said of school districts’ decisions to close. “It appears that we’re not really going to get there, or if we do, it will be just for a short period of time.”
Poloncarz added that if students do have to spend extended time outside getting to school that they should be appropriately dressed for the cold.
Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein warned about frostbite and hypothermia due to the extreme cold and implored people to check on elderly neighbors. She said that if anybody begins suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, they should be brought inside where it’s warm as soon as possible, and medical care should be sought.
Additionally, she warned about carbon monoxide poisoning from outside furnace and dryer vents being covered.
“We’re a city of good neighbors,” Burstein said. “In this very extreme cold temperatures, you want to make sure you check on your neighbors that are more vulnerable.”
While some short bursts of heavy lake-effect snow are anticipated alongside the cold temperatures, Poloncarz said he does not expect a State of Emergency will be issued for the weather event.
“It is not going to be good, it’s going to be exceptionally cold, but it’s not like we see often in these blizzard conditions or snowstorms, where it is just at any moment, it could be life-threatening,” Poloncarz said. “Cold temperatures exist in this region, we’re used to them, you just have to be dressed appropriately.”
For the full 4Warn Weather forecast regarding Friday’s cold temperatures, click here.
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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.