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Families Returning Home, Shelters Closing as Power Restoration Continues

Red Cross volunteer helping lady in a shelter

As power restoration efforts continue across the Western and Central New York Region following this week’s windstorms, the American Red Cross has closed storm shelters in Batavia and Macedon. Anyone in these areas in need of additional assistance is asked to call their local Red Cross Chapter. 

Red Cross volunteers continue to operate storm shelters at the following locations in the Greater Rochester area: 

·         David Gantt Center
700 North Street, Rochester

·         Monroe Community College, Building 10
1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester

Additional community storm shelters are being operated by other agencies and many are receiving Red Cross support. 207 people spent Saturday night in nine total shelters. The Red Cross remains in constant contact with emergency officials across Western and Central New York to coordinate the most efficient and effective response to this disaster, and is prepared to provide additional relief services as needed. 

An additional shelter remains open at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle in Buffalo for those displaced by a multi-unit apartment fire on Lafayette Street in Buffalo early Saturday morning. 

DRIVING IN WINTER WEATHER With a Winter Storm Warning in effect for much of the region starting Monday, Red Cross encourages you to stay off the roads if possible. If you have to drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:

  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways. 

If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:

  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open - away from the blowing wind - to let in air. 

WEATHER ALERTS AND FIRST AID TIPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to winter storm tips and weather alerts for their area and where loved-ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at 


You can help people affected by disasters like home fires, power outages and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.