New Jersey is sending 22 members of Task Force One to Erie County in western New York to help dig out of at least 49 inches of snow.

Members of New Jersey's Task Force 1 were dispatched Monday afternoon from their headquarters in Wall to assist with the dig-out.

State Police Col. Pat Callahan said this was the Task Force's first snow-related assignment. The crew is usually deployed to flooding and hurricane disasters in others states.

Heavy rescue trucks, snowmobiles, Argo track vehicles and off-road rescue vehicles are all headed north.

❄ 'What neighbors do'

The team will first report first to the Eric County Fire Training Academy in Cheektowaga, New York, east of Buffalo.

Their deployment could last up to two weeks.

"I'm deploying New Jersey Task Force One to assist New York with rescue efforts after extreme winter weather impacted the state this weekend, because that's what neighbors do," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a message on his Twitter account.

"Good luck to NJ-TF1 as they join the heroes who are working around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe."

❄ 'Worst snow of our lifetimes'

The snow started Saturday and created what Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz called a "white wall" of snow for up to 18 hours. He said it was “the worst storm probably in our lifetime,” even for an area accustomed to punishing snow.

Some who ventured out became stranded in their cars for more than two days. Every fire truck in the city of Buffalo was stranded on Saturday. 28 deaths have been blamed on the storm.

"I can't believe western New York got buried for the second time this season, and it's only December!"  New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "Lake-effect snow is finicky — wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity have to be just right for snow bands to form. But when they do, it can get really intense."

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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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