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High winds cut power to thousands of customers in Erie, Niagara counties

Wednesday's whipping winds have been causing problems over land and water in Western New York.

Gusts pushed over trees and brought down power lines across the region. The wind also pushed ice from Lake Erie over the ice boom and into the Niagara River, causing a flash flood watch for areas along the upper river.

Thousands lost power across the area. As of 11 p.m., more than 16,000 NYSEG customers in Western New York were still without electricity, according to the company's website. National Grid's website reported about 4,300 customers were blacked out at 11 p.m.

NYSEG's greatest concentration of problems was in southern and eastern Erie County, where 14,223 customers lost service. Nearly 1,000 were out in Wyoming County.

National Grid's outages were most severe in northeastern Niagara County, where 926 customers were without power, and Wyoming County, where 1,118 were affected.

The National Weather Service, which reported 75 mph winds at 12:50 p.m. in Batavia, had issued a high wind warning until midnight, but canceled it earlier Wednesday evening.

The gusty winds toppled a tractor-trailer Wednesday morning on Campbell Boulevard in Pendleton. Another tractor-trailer overturned near the interchange between the I-290 and the mainline Thruway, but the State Police haven't said whether that was weather-related or caused by a collision.

The strong winds affected some flights in and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Flooding shut down part of Route 5 in Hamburg between Camp and Big Tree roads, according to the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition.

The wind felled this tree which damaged a house on Quaker Road in Barker. (Larry Kensinger/Special to The News)

 

In Buffalo, three signals were reported out at Washington and Scott streets, Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street and Delaware and Tacoma avenues.

Michael J. DeGeorge, a spokesman for Mayor Byron W. Brown, said National Grid was working to restore power to these signals. Motorists were being advised to treat these intersections as four-way stops.

In addition, the Buffalo Forestry Division reported that it has responded to about 60 calls regarding tree damage, including damage from fallen limbs and branches. Officials said nine trees were blocking streets Wednesday evening and that crews were working to remove them. Meanwhile, the Skyway off of I-190 remained open.

All Erie County parks were closed to visitors due to potential hazards caused by high winds. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said parks would reopen Thursday morning at normal hours.

More than 3,000 customers were without power in Niagara County, according to the utilities. At one point, the Town of Niagara alone had more than 3,000 customers who lost power.

Trees were reported down on Bickford Avenue in Buffalo and in Wales on Hunter's Creek Road, north of Church Road, and at Bear and East Creek roads, according to the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Downed trees also blocked Jamison Road in Marilla and Kinsley Road in Elma, the Sheriff's Office said.

Downed trees were also reported by the Erie County Department of Public Works at Ransom Road at Route 5 in Clarence and on Como Park Boulevard between Bennett and Center roads in Cheektowaga.

In Amherst, dozens of trees were reported down in backyards, on roads, in parks and along the Ellicott Creek bike path, James Zymanek, the town's director of emergency services, said. In some cases, falling trees brought down power lines, including at a backyard on North Long Street in Williamsville. Trees blocking roadways were being cleared by the town's Highway Department.

"Right now we are managing well but everyone is working," said Zymanek.

The wall of this warehouse on Whirlpool Street in Niagara Falls was no match for the wind that roared through the region Wednesday. (Larry Kensinger/Special to The News)

Traffic signals were reported out along Transit Road, and in the vicinity of Maple and North Forest roads, Millersport Highway and North Forest and Niagara Falls Boulevard and Eggert Road, said Amherst Police Chief John Askey.

"We have generators that we put on those and National Grid is getting those back up and running," he said.

Genesee Street was closed before 11 a.m. in both directions between Harris Hill Road and Main Street in Lancaster for utility repairs, according to NITTEC.

Traffic light problems were reported Wednesday morning at Union Road and George Urban Boulevard in Cheektowaga, as well as at Hopkins and Klein roads in Amherst, according to police in those towns.

Read a more detailed forecast here.

High winds could push Lake Erie ice pack over the boom

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