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News 4 Buffalo

Erie County eyeing $350k contract to develop winter storm rating system

By Chris Horvatits,


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is asking lawmakers to approve a contract worth up to $350,000 to establish a winter storm rating system. The request comes a little more than five months after the deadly Christmas weekend blizzard that killed dozens of people.

Erie County Legislators already allocated the money through a budget balancing amendment in April. They’re now being asked to give a thumbs-up to the review, which could take up to 18 months.

The work would be performed by the Research Foundation, which, “was selected after an initial inventory of existing potential providers of this multi-faceted request was completed,” according to a memo sent from Erie County Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth Jr. to legislators last Friday.

Under the contract, the Research Foundation would also assess communication during previous winter storms, specifically focusing on the 2022 Blizzard.

In a January tweet, Poloncarz foreshadowed such an effort.

“After reviewing the actions and response taken to the Christmas Blizzard, our team has concluded if another similar life-threatening storm is approaching we need to take further proactive steps to warn the public,” the county executive said as part of a five-tweet thread.

If approved by the legislature, the Research Foundation’s work would start in July.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter and anchor who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter .

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