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Christmas Blizzard 2022: State requests federal emergency declaration

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The deadly winter storm that brought blizzard conditions to much of Erie County in Western New York over the last four days should finally come to an end today.

On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul submitted a formal request to President Joe Biden for a Federal Emergency Declaration.

The state’s storm response continued into the new week as a multitude of emergency agencies deployed equipment and personnel to coordinate with and support local governments impacted by Winter Storm Elliott.

Governor Hochul deployed an additional 220 National Guard soldiers to the Western New York region, bringing the total of deployments to approximately 430. A driving ban was active for most of Erie County through the weekend, and was lifted for portions on Monday. However, local and state officials continue to urge only essential travel as recovery efforts remained active.

“I want to thank everyone at the state and local public safety agencies who stepped up and worked throughout the holiday weekend,” Governor Hochul said. “I have spoken to President Biden who has agreed to swiftly approve our Federal Emergency Declaration, which will be crucial to assist our recovery efforts from this historic storm, and I thank our congressional delegation for helping secure this assistance. While we continue to do everything we can to help Western New York recover and await federal assistance, I want everyone in impacted areas to continue to stay off the roads and check in on loved ones and neighbors.”

The Governor submitted a request to President Biden for a Federal Emergency Declaration for Erie and Genesee Counties. Once approved, the Emergency Declaration will provide immediate federal assistance to impacted counties to support ongoing response and recovery operations.

Prior to the arrival of the event on Thursday evening, Governor Hochul declared a State of Emergency for the entire state, which remains in place. Additionally, New York’s emergency management agencies were in constant communication with the National Weather Service and local governments in the week leading up to the storm.

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (including the Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control), Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, State Police, State Parks and DEC all pre-deployed resources to the Western New York, Finger Lakes and North Country regions ahead of the storm, and additional resources were surged to heavily impacted areas.

Numerous State highways in the Western New York region remain closed to all traffic, as of Monday afternoon. The New York State Thruway (I-90) remains closed to all traffic between exit 46 in Rochester to the Pennsylvania line.

Heavy snow is expected to continue to impact areas off Lake Ontario and Lake Erie this morning before finally subsiding.