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Batavia City Schools will be closed again today. Check school closings HERE

A travel ban is in place for all of Genesee County until further notice, according to the sheriff’s office.

The decision, Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said, was agreed to upon jointly by the sheriff’s office, Batavia Police and county emergency management services.

The previously enacted no unnecessary travel advisory was upgraded around noon Tuesday to a straightforward travel ban.

“The travel ban means – just as it does throughout the county – that there is no means of travel for anyone other than emergency vehicles which include police, ambulance, snow plows, fire apparatuses, those types of things,” City Manager Jason Molino said. “The visibility is extremely bad. It’s not as much the roads that are the concern as the visibility. Our city police and fire are working, they’re on duty but they won’t be on the road unless there’s an emergency to respond to. Also, public works plows will not be plowing unless there’s an emergency to respond to until visibility clears up.”

The sheriff’s office says blowing and drifting snow are creating impassable roads. It also says accidents which have left stranded cars are blocking roadways and creating unsafe traveling conditions.

Sheriff Gary Maha says to stay home or wherever you are until the conditions improve.

“We don’t know when this will be lifted,” Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said. “It will depend on the weather. It’s not something we do lightly. It’s something that we will lift as soon as we possibly can. It’s bad out there and it’s going to continue to be bad from all the weather predictions that we have so it’s just a smart thing to do.”

The National Weather Service in Buffalo confirms Chief Deputy Dibble’s comments. WBTA spoke to a meteorologist this afternoon to see what’s ahead for the county.

“Conditions are going to remain pretty much the same through the rest of the afternoon and even into the evening,” meteorologist Jon Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo told WBTA. “The lake effect snow band is going to remain stationary over Genesee County.”

“The actual snow isn’t all that intense,” Hitchcock said, “but the real problem continues to the very strong winds out of the southwest gusting to as high as 45 miles per hour. That’s producing considerable blowing and drifting snow and blizzard conditions at times with absolutely zero visibility.”

“The weather conditions will slowly improve after midnight,” Hitchcock said. “The winds will begin to diminish somewhat and the lake effect snow should also diminish in intensity so I expect conditions to slowly improve after midnight. By the time we get to tomorrow morning, the winds will be light enough that we shouldn’t be in a blizzard condition anymore but there still will be some blowing and drifting snow even during the day tomorrow, along with a little bit of light snow, but the worse should be behind us by 6 a.m. tomorrow.”

The Wind Chill Advisory for the County was supposed to expire at 6 o’clock tonight. The National Weather Service has extended it to 4 a.m. Wednesday.

(top picture: heading east on Main Street, Batavia, before the travel ban; right: Main Street looking west)

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