BATAVIA — A travel ban has been issued for Genesee County as it enters a state of emergency.
The ban means no travel is permitted for anybody but emergency vehicles such as police and fire departments, ambulances, snowplows and other official vehicles, Genesee County sheriff’s deputies said.
The western half of Genesee County is experiencing blizzard conditions with blowing and drifting snow causing zero visibility, deputies said. Weather forecasts indicate similar conditions are expected for all of Genesee County later today and through Saturday.
Numerous accidents and stranded vehicles are blocking roadways and causing unsafe driving conditions for motorists and first responders.
“For your safety and the safety of first responders and highway snow removal personnel this holiday weekend, please stay off the roads until conditions improve,” said Sheriff William Sheron in a news release.
“No unnecessary travel” advisories are in effect for Orleans and Wyoming counties.
In Orleans County as of 1:30 p.m., Route 31A in Barre was expected to be closed for at least two hours between East Barre and Powerline roads due to a four-vehicle crash.
In the meantime, a variety of closures and cancellations are underway including:
HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL CARE
Rochester Regional Health-United Memorial Medical Center said it will close some care offices early today due to the winter storm and icy roads expected in much of the area it serves.
“Please note the United Memorial Medical Center hospital and Emergency Department are, and will remain, open for all emergencies,” UMMC said in a press release. “Given regional travel advisories, and for the safety of patients and staff, some outpatient offices will be closing at noon and calling their patients directly to reschedule appointments.
Primary care offices and specialty care offices (cardiology, surgery, women’s care, pain center, wound center, Lipson Cancer Institute and orthopedics) are closing at noon. Some morning visits for these offices are virtual and appointments are being rescheduled. Phone lines remain open.
Other offices closing at noon include UMMC imaging at Jerome Center, physical therapy, UMMC lab at Jerome Center (also closed Saturday), outpatient pharmacy, Healthy Living Center.
All essential staff members are required to report to work.
Patients and families who have any questions should first reach out to their primary care or specialty care offices. For other questions, call 585-343-6030 for more information.
Orleans Community Health (OCH) is preparing for service disruptions as others are, said Scott Robinson, director of marketing, communications, and outreach for OCH.
Robinson said he wanted to get a message to dialysis patients this morning.
“All patients in Medina should call (585) 798-3757 and Batavia (585) 344-7097 after 5 a.m. on Friday (today) for instructions for treatment. Both locations will be open on Friday, but as of now it is highly likely that both will close on Saturday,” he said. All VA Outpatient Patient Clinics in Buffalo and Batavia are also closed.
Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel said it is closed today starting at 11:30 a.m. due to the storm. The hotel will remain open for those that are already staying or who have reservations tonight.
“We urge everyone to please be safe and obey all travel advisories. A decision on whether Batavia Downs will reopen on Saturday will be posted on our social media pages and website in the morning,” Batavia Downs said.
Wyoming County Acting Sheriff David Linder at 10 a.m. today issued a travel advisory for the entire county.
“Blowing and drifting snow coupled with poor visibility, has made travel difficult,” Linder said. “Residents are urged to limit travel to commuting to and from work, as well as bare necessities.”
Elba Central School District is closed today due to the storm. No extracurricular and athletic events will take place today. The district will reopen Jan. 3.
Batavia First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., has canceled Eve of Christmas Eve services for today due to the storm.
The Batavia Wal-Mart is closing at 2 p.m. today.
Wyoming County Courts have shifted to emergency operations. With the exception of criminal court arraignments and any emergency criminal matters, emergency matters will be handled virtually.