Temperatures dropped dramatically, and winds gusted to 69 mph this morning as October weather took a sharp turn toward the gales of November.
Winds tore a large section of roof off a Buffalo Raceway barn in the Town of Hamburg shortly after noon today, track officials reported.
"We just lost a 50- to 60-foot section of one of the barn roofs," said Darryl Wood. "There was a gust, and it was gone. The wind just blew it into pieces."
High wind warnings were posted for the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area, with wind advisories for the Southern Tier. The National Weather Service received reports of downed trees and satellite dishes in Chautauqua County, and gusts toppled some pedestrians in downtown Buffalo.
The winds were expected to increase through today, with a probable rise in water levels at this end of Lake Erie. Lakeshore flood warnings have been posted.
Weather Service forecasters don't expect a major "seiche," a storm-driven shift in water from one end of the lake to another. A moderate rise in levels, though, could combine with high winds to send spray across exposed portions of Route 5 south of Buffalo.
Temperatures, which had been in the low 60s, will drop swiftly, perhaps to the low 30s overnight, as a strong cold front passes through the region. Some snow showers are possible tonight and Thursday.
Friday is expected to be partly sunny and cold, with a chance of snow or rain showers downwind from the lakes. Lows will dip into the 20s, and highs will remain only in the 30s.
Saturday should be partly sunny with some localized lake effect rain showers.