Roughly 130 New York National Guard members assisted local and state authorities in responding to the historic and deadly snowstorm that pummeled western New York over the weekend, according to a news release from the Guard.
The record-breaking snowstorm, which brought more than six feet of snow to Erie County and parts of Jefferson County beginning last Thursday, marked the most amount of snow for the Buffalo, New York area in a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service.
At least two individuals died because of “exertion during shoveling/snow blowing,” according to a tweet from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Major Gary Barney, commander of the task force leading the snowstorm cleanup, said in the release that troops helped to rescue stranded motorists and vehicles as the snowfall first started.
“They’re doing everything from transporting dialysis patients in the Town of Hamburg here to their appointments, to knocking on doors and making sure that people are safe and trying to help people get through this as best as we can,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said of the National Guard’s efforts.
Equipment and personnel from the 204th Engineer Battalion, the 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, the 102nd Military Police Battalion and the 174th Attack Wing were used Sunday to assist with debris cleanup, according to a press release from the New York governor’s office.
Other troops deployed for the mission included the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment, the 107th Attack Wing and the 105th Military Police Company, the release said. Guard elements used Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station as its mission base.
Hochul declared a state of emergency on Nov. 17 ahead of the storm’s arrival, and President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration Sunday that authorizes federal assistance to supplement the state’s response.
“My team and I will continue working around the clock to keep everyone safe, help communities dig out, and secure every last dollar to help rebuild and recover from this unprecedented, record-shattering historic winter storm,” Hochul said Monday.
Most residents of Erie County were regaining access to power on Monday, according to poweroutage.us, though roadway travel bans and flight interruptions from over the weekend will likely cause headaches in the days ahead of Thanksgiving.
The storm also forced the Buffalo Bills football team to move a scheduled home game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit, Michigan after 80 inches of snow forced the closing of the team’s Highmark Stadium.
No worries to Bills fans, however, as the team won their game 31-23.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media