HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Nearly a year after two unforgettable winter storms, Erie County and Hamburg officials are heading into this winter with high hopes of providing better plowing and safety to residents.
The Hamburg Highway Department has 14 plows, two high lifts and 16 total drivers. Since last year, Hamburg hired six additional plow drivers to make sure roads are cleared quickly.
Highway Superintendent Ed Hughes says the town got six to eight inches of snow per hour during the Christmas blizzard, so they made adjustments to keep up with Mother Nature.
“We’ve learned a lot. We sat down with the foreman, and we’ve changed a lot of our routes and stuff and we should be ready to share,” Hughes said. “I’m used to it. Winter is winter. So you just have to put your mindset to say we’re going to come in and plow snow and that’s what we do. That’s what the guys do here and we do a great job.”
Meanwhile, Erie County says it is ready to help out towns like Hamburg during massive winter storms like the two residents saw last year.
The county has added snow blowers to some of their vehicles to make room along the side of the road to plow snow during major snow events. DPW Commissioner William Geary says the county is responsible for several main plow routes in Hamburg, including the main routes to Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo.
“Hamburg is also unique in the fact it’s right along the lake and we get that rise in terrain and we get the super cool air that develops the snowbelt and some heavy dumps,” Geary said. “So what happens a lot of times is we have to do multiple beats with multiple trucks. So, it could go anywhere from four to six hours of flower and even eight depending on the intensity of the snow.”
Geary said that the county is ready for the winter ahead, and clear communication with the public is also being emphasized.
“We could have all the equipment in the world, but it’s the communication aspect and especially getting the communication out to the public,” Geary said. “And then we have to really use sincere language that sometimes we probably wouldn’t have used in the past because we try to be too nice. That’s the biggest aspect and the biggest pivot that we’re going to make.”
Officials encourage residents to heed warnings and stay home when conditions are bad because it could delay getting their neighborhood cleared.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.