WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Westchester County’s executive began his news conference Friday with a simple message about what he thought of Thursday’s snow storm – “last night we were humbled by Mother Nature.”
George Latimer spent the rest of his time with the media on the defensive for the county’s lack of preparation for the underestimated November storm.
“We are all practical and fallible human beings,” Latimer said, as he repeatedly noted that Westchester received twice as much snow as had been expected.
WEB EXTRA: Westchester Executive George Latimer’s full news conference on the county’s snow response
The Westchester executive said the county could have handled snow removal better if the storm had struck at midday or midnight, instead of at the beginning of the evening rush.
“We learned a good lesson about advanced preparation.”
Latimer also shifted much of the responsibility for snow removal issues Thursday night to the county’s local municipalities.
Regardless of whose responsibility it was to clean the roads, thousands of county residents and commuters across the Tri-state were left stranded by public transportation.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello demanded answers from Latimer in regards to why Bee-Line buses reportedly failed to show up near New Rochelle High School to pick up students at 3 p.m., at the very start of Thursday’s storm.
“We’ll investigate it, we’ll make a note of it,” Latimer replied.
Latimer also seemingly faulted drivers, who left work early, for clogging local roads and making it more difficult for plows to clear the snow.
“It was a bad commute, mistakes were made… it’s only fair to say… on behalf of the local municipalities, not the county.”
The county executive also pushed back against criticism of Westchester’s management during the snowstorm. He stated that while the storm was inconvenient, there were no deaths or major power outages reported.
“We have to be realistic about it… we’re not talking about a six day incident,” Latimer declared.
“It was not a universal disaster… this was predicted to be 1-3 inches… I’m not looking for exoneration of people, I’m looking for realistic expectations.”