“No power or heat & I got a baby on a ventilator,” she wrote.
Tommy Bellonte, 37, a federal employee, ventured outside his north Buffalo home for less than 10 minutes Saturday morning to let his hulking German shepherd out and check on the condition of his neighbor’s driveway. But the “bone-chilling” cold set in instantly.
“Everyone is like, ‘Oh you’re from Buffalo, you’re used to this.’ But you can’t get used to this,” he said, as he shoveled the walkway next door. “I’m not staying out for long, that’s for sure.”
Like many people in Western New York, Mr. Bellonte’s holiday arrangements were disrupted by the storm. Instead of heading to his family’s house in the northern suburb of Lewiston, he plans to stay put Saturday, “just hunkering down” and watching the Buffalo Bills game on television.
“I have some friends that live a block away,” he said. “Luckily, we all still have power.”
Mr. Poloncarz, meantime, urged residents not to call 911 for nonemergency situations so that the service could help those who need it most urgently.
“It may stink that your internet is down,” he said, “but that is not a reason to call 911.”
County officials have requested that Governor Kathy Hochul send National Guard troops to help with rescue operations.
Conditions were not expected to improve throughout the day. The National Weather Service predicted winds gusting as high as 65 miles per hour and wind chills as cold as 15 to 25 below zero. Mr. Poloncarz urged residents to stay indoors and not to go out for Christmas Eve.
“If you’re not in the storm area you have no idea how bad it is,” he said.