Power outages give way to flooding concerns in WNY - The Buffalo News

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Power outages give way to flooding concerns in WNY

Most Western New Yorkers who lost their electrical power got it back late Sunday and overnight, but the weather concerns now move to local creeks, especially Tonawanda Creek, which is expected to crest just short of “major flooding” stage early Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service reported that Tonawanda Creek at Rapids was expected to crest at 15.7 feet at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, just short of the 16-foot “major flooding” stage.

That creek level had reached 13.64 feet, as of noon today, well past the flood stage of 12 feet. Concerns rise as the creek level moves ever closer to 16 feet.

“If that stage were reached, we’d have widespread flooding in most of North Clarence and North Amherst, Royalton and Newstead, along with many road closures, including Millersport Highway and Tonawanda Creek Road,” meteorologist Dan Kelly said.

That level also would cause major problems in the Ransom Oaks area, in East Amherst.

The recent storm’s rainfall, melting snow and ice storm already led to some flooding and knocked out electrical power for almost 65,000 National Grid and New York State Electric & Gas customers.

That number had dwindled to just under 8,000 by 8 a.m. today. The worst areas remained Niagara County, with almost 4,000 customers still out, followed by just over 3,000 in Orleans County. Another 874 households in Erie County and 83 in Genesee remained without power.

Once the more serious flooding concerns pass, the focus no doubt will shift toward the possibility of a white Christmas, defined as half an inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

That remained iffy this morning, as forecasters called for anywhere from a dusting to up to 3 inches in various parts of Western New York the next couple days, with the larger amounts expected in the traditional snow belts south of Buffalo and in the Southern Tier.

So what are the chances for a white Christmas?

“I would say, for the Buffalo area, about a 70 percent chance,” Kelly said.

email: gwarner@buffnews.com

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