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NY National Guard deploys for Christmas snow storm response


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A Toronto-esque military deployment for their neighbors just across the lake.

NY National Guard deploys for Christmas snow storm response​

BUFFALO, New York—Four hundred and sixty New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were on state active duty Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, as New York state responded to the massive snowstorm which hit the Buffalo area over Christmas weekend.

Additional troops were to be mobilized on Dec. 27, which would bring the strength to about 540.

The region along Lake Erie was hit by four feet of snow over Christmas Eve and into Monday, Dec. 26, with additional snowfall expected on Dec. 27. Roads remain closed and many areas are without power.

As of Tuesday, morning at least 28 deaths related to the storm had been reported and local officials expect the number to climb.

"This is an epic, statewide hazard. There's no other way to describe this than, this is having an impact everywhere,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been conducting health and wellness checks with Buffalo police officers, clearing snow at critical locations, moving medical people to and from hospitals and other health facilities, and occasionally moving medical patients to hospitals.

Along the way, the Soldiers and Airmen have rescued 86 people from hazardous situations, and in one case got a woman to John R. Oishei Children's Hospital just before she gave birth.

“We have a running joke internally about how many babies Lieutenant (Richard) Burns is going to deliver today,” said Major Luke Udell, the task force operations officer.

Private 1st Class Matthew Waldman, a member of the 105th Military Police Company, was delayed reporting into duty on Christmas Day, because he took time out to help deliver a baby.

Waldman learned from his mother that a pregnant woman who he was close to had gone into labor. He diverted to her home and helped her deliver the baby. Then he reported in.

Lt. Col Justin Couts, the commander of the joint task force in Buffalo, said he expected that more rescues will be recorded as reports get followed up on.

The initial tasking from Hochul was for 50 Guard Airmen and Soldiers to provide transportation assistance. Additional personnel from the New York State Police, the Department of Transportation, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and the New York Thruway Authority were also assigned to the area.

As the storm’s intensity exceeded expectations, the governor directed the New York National Guard to mobilize more troops with more capabilities.
"We continue to work around the clock with local leaders to respond to this historic storm and are in contact with the White House to secure critical federal assistance to help our communities recover," Hochul said.

Units mobilized for the mission came from western and Central New York.
The 153rd Troop Command, a brigade level headquarters based in Buffalo’s Connecticut Street Armory is commanding the operation, while Army engineer support is being provided by the 827th Engineer Company from Horseheads.

Soldiers from the 105th Military Police Company in Buffalo, and the 102nd Military Police Company in Auburn are conducting general purpose missions and assisting local police in conducting health and wellness checks.

The 827th Engineer Company, based in Horseheads, initially deployed a front-end loader and skid steers to help with snow clearance. The unit was deploying dumb trucks and more front-end loaders to the area on Dec. 27.
The 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry in Utica also deployed a general-purpose support team.

The 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, deployed a debris clearance team, a general-purpose support team, and a runway snowblower which assisted in clearing parts of the New York State Thruway.

Closer to the epicenter of the storm, the 107th Attack Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station deployed a general-purpose response force.

They also deployed a team that is especially trained to help recover the remains of those who died. That unit is working with the Erie County emergency operations center.

The 42nd Infantry Division was also deploying Soldiers from elements in Buffalo to assist with the mission.

While conducting this mission, the New York National Guard also has 700 personnel on state active duty in New York City helping city officials cope with an influx of migrants. Another 700 personnel are on duty as part of Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the security mission in New York City.

Another 2,200 Soldiers and Airmen are deployed overseas from the Horn of Africa and Kuwait, to Germany and Antarctica.

And while over 500 Guardsmen are shuffling off to Buffalo, "the New York National Guard also has 700 personnel on state active duty in New York City helping city officials cope with an influx of migrants. Another 700 personnel are on duty as part of Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the security mission in New York City. Another 2,200 Soldiers and Airmen are deployed overseas from the Horn of Africa and Kuwait, to Germany and Antarctica."
Ok, but we’re talking Buffalo. When Buffalo stumbles in from a snow storm asking “what in the fuck was that?!”, you know it was a real storm.
I think they've had something like 10' of snow in the last month. Growing up in the area was pretty common to get a light dusting and see Buffalo get pounded or vice versa; the lake effect is pretty crazy and sometimes you can literally see the storm tracking on one side or the other (and sometimes see something a bit similar in the NCR along the Ottawa river, but not as pronounced).

The nice thing is that when it happens plows, line crews etc cross the border to help out, so not uncommon to see convoys heading one way or the other.

But yeah, when they ask for help, things are bad.
In a big city, in addition to clearing the streets for emergency vehicles, keeping the catch basins shoveled out is important to prevent flooding.

I've seen headlines from New York City from a snowstorm a few years ago,

"FDNY EMS has a aprox 5 hour delay to Emergencies. FDNY personal are advised not to do CPR more then 20 min due to high vol of jobs."

FDNY-EMS reported a backlog of 1,300 9-1-1 calls and a 3-hour to 12-hour delay in response to critical cases, including cardiac arrests and heart attacks.

A report of a mother unable to breath. Her daughter called 9-1-1, but could not get through for 50 minutes. A neighbour administered CPR, but EMS was unable to arrive for another 45 minutes, and they still had to walk to her house. The lady did not survive.

A man died of a heart attack after it took paramedics three-and-a-half hours to arrive.

A 22-year-old pregnant woman started contractions. Because of the ambulance delay, she began walking from her home to the hospital, but couldn't make it. She stopped in a building lobby. 911 was called again at 8:30 a.m. By 4:30 p.m. she had started crowning and 911 was called again. Around 5:20 p.m. police arrived (by foot since driving was impossible) and found the woman attempting to leave and walk to the hospital again. She was brought back inside and the baby was delivered. Despite the efforts of police and neighbors the baby was lost.

And the wrongful death lawsuits,

"Family of NYC Woman Who Died in Blizzard Plans $20M Lawsuit:
Suffering a heart attack during the New York City blizzard after Christmas, Yvonne Freeman "never had a chance," her daughter says, because an ambulance took three hours to reach her over unplowed streets. By the time it got there, it was too late.
Now Freeman's family is planning a $20 million lawsuit against the city -- the first blizzard-related wrongful death case.":

Metro used to send their Metro-melters to Buffalo.

They scooped snow up from the street; melted it and spewed the water out into the catch basin. Metro had four of them. Crews working alongside the Metromelt uncovered storm sewers blocked by snow so the water from it; with dirt and debris filtered out; could drain.

It was loud as a plane taking off.

They were taken out of service after a fatal accident involving a young child.


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From all accounts it’s pretty bad there.
I saw a link (that I now can't find) that showed them receiving 100" of snow since mid-November; more than half of that since December 23rd.