UPDATE: The Region of Niagara has now cancelled the state of emergency it declared last week in Fort Erie, Port Colborne and Wainfleet.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Region of Niagara has declared an official state of emergency in the wake of last weekend’s large pre-Christmas snowstorm.
The southern part of Niagara, especially through Fort Erie, Port Colborne and Wainfleet, was especially hard hit.
With ongoing power outages and numerous people stranded on roads, some for most of the day Saturday, the region issued the declaration at about 8:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
“Residents and visitors should avoid all travel to the southern areas of the region, specifically the municipalities of Fort Erie, Wainfleet and Port Colborne,” the region said in a news bulletin.
“We are appealing to everyone to stay home and stay off roadways tonight and tomorrow (Christmas Day),” the region announced.
Many parts of the region continue to have blizzard-like conditions including blowing snow, white-outs and zero visibility at times, the region warned.
These conditions, combined with widespread power outages, have created treacherous conditions in many parts of the region.
The region said it is working closely with all local municipalities to assist with snow clearing operations to get much-needed supplies and services to the southern end of Niagara.
Regional chair Jim Bradley said the declaration came after speaking with the mayors in Niagara’s southern communities “and in consultation with our emergency operations team.”
“I know that staff from our 12 municipalities and the region are co-operating to address the numerous challenges related to this severe weather event. I implore residents to stay home and be patient as municipal crews work around the clock to keep Niagara safe.”