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Thunderstorms ‘not going to alleviate’ drought conditions

Monday’s rain – remember that? – was heavy in many spots across Western New York.

About three-quarters of an inch fell in showers and thunderstorms at Buffalo Niagara International Airport between 8 a.m. and noon.

But it won’t do much to relieve severe drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s not going to alleviate much,” said weather service meteorologist Steve Welch. “It might help green up some yards for a few days.”

The strong thunderstorms affected northeastern Erie and Niagara counties through late morning Monday. They lasted a little longer on the Southern Tier. A severe thunderstorm warning was posted for southwest Cattaraugus and southeast Chautauqua counties until 1:45 p.m. Monday.

The weather service also issued marine warnings Monday morning for the upper and lower Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor and for the shores of Lake Ontario from Youngstown to Point Breeze. Gusty winds Monday afternoon prompted a beach hazards statement, in effect until 8 p.m., which warned swimmers to beware of high waves and strong currents.

More than 2,800 National Grid customers lost power in Erie County, including more than 1,900 in Buffalo and more than 800 in Hamburg.

More than 1,000 New York State Electric & Gas customers in the county also lost power, including in Lancaster, Boston, Cheektowaga and Orchard Park.

If some areas received localized heavy downpours – to the tune of 1 or 2 inches of rain – that would help relieve the extremely dry conditions, Welch said.

Sunshine returned in most areas by mid-afternoon Monday and clear skies are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday promises to be the most comfortable day of the week, with high temperatures around 80. Wednesday’s high is expected to be in the mid- to upper 80s.

Rain, or at least the possibility of rain, returns to the forecast in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms beginning Thursday and continuing every day through Sunday.

That should help, but it won’t be enough to break the drought, according to the weather service.

News Staff Reporter Dale Anderson contributed to this report. email: abesecker@buffnews.com

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