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After telling Erie County earlier this year that it would have to repay more than $48 million in disaster relief used for the cleanup from the October 2006 snowstorm, FEMA re-evaluated a recent audit and has reduced its requested payback to about $705,000.The dramatic reduction was the result of protests by local officials and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who, with Eri…

Erie County may not have to repay more than $48 million in federal assistance awarded after the October 2006 snowstorm, if FEMA gets its way.Instead, FEMA said in a report released today, that the county should return slightly more than $700,000 in grant money paid out for storm response and cleanup of debris.The dispute arose earlier this year when an audit by the Departm…

You may have found carpenter ants munching through the timbers of your house.Or maybe you’ve been bitten by more mosquitoes than usual.Or, perhaps it was a huge, angry nest of yellow jackets in a garage, basement or under your home’s eaves.Whatever the first clue, chances are you might have noticed that this summer has been a bit heavy on bugs.Or, shall we say, “pest…

It may not be the seven-month blizzard that a friendly Indian warned Pa Ingalls about.But it seems possible Western New York could be in for a long – and cold – winter, according to forecasts from the newly released Farmers’ Almanac.The 197-year-old publication, which bases its predictions on “a top-secret mathematical and astronomical formula,” is calling for ol…

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for central Erie County, western Genesee County and northwestern Wyoming County until 4:45 p.m. this afternoon.At 4:05 p.m. the weather service detected a thunderstorm capable of producing quarter-size hail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph located near Orchard Park and Hamburg moving northeast at 3…

NIAGARA FALLS – Residents and businesses in Niagara Falls who suffered storm damage last week are invited to speak with and provide information to members of the state’s damage assessment team today.The officials will set up a mobile command center at City Hall, 745 Main St., and will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Much of the raw sewage in Niagara Falls is being dumped into the Niagara River without being treated because the Falls’ treatment plant was shut down by Friday’s wild rainstorm, officials disclosed Monday.Lockport’s sewage treatment plant also was damaged by a heavy flow of stormwater, but it was not completely shut down.“No waste is being treated more than primary…

Ajit Kolethe and his family had just returned to his in-laws’ home on Woodlawn Avenue in Niagara Falls on Friday night, when the strong winds and heavy rains hit at about 9:30 p.m., knocking out power to the home.“After the lights went out, maybe a few seconds later, we heard a big thud,” the 40-year-old Kolethe recalled Saturday afternoon. “We opened the door, loo…

The sky became charcoal-gray at about dinner time. Winds picked up. Then a train of ferocious thunderstorms raced through Buffalo Niagara on Friday evening.Fueled by the collision of a strong cold front with the weeklong oppressive heat and humidity that melted the region, the storms slammed areas of Niagara and northern Erie counties.The fierce storms knocked down power l…

Add strong winds to the heat wave.But the winds will bring in a cold front this weekend.“The strongest winds probably are going to be fairly close to the lake,” Kelly said.A cold front now in the upper Midwest will reach this area early Saturday. Showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop ahead of it, but the risk of severe weather is only slight at this time.Me…

The same day that Buffalo was named one of the country’s Top 10 “Chill Cities” for summer comfort, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the area and warned people to stay out of the sun, avoid unnecessary outdoor activity and check on people who may be without air conditioning.And then there are those whose jobs make you feel hot just to think abou…

The heat wave that has scorched Buffalo over the past few days has now claimed a life – that of a dog that was left outside tied to a garage, the SPCA Serving Erie County reported.The dog, a pit bull mix, was tied up outside a house at 8 a.m. Wednesday, the owners told the SPCA. They checked on the dog at 10 a.m. and gave it water, but when they checked again at 1 p.m., …

A mechanical failure at a NYSEG substation left about 3,900 customers in Clarence and East Amherst without electrical power this afternoon, causing some concern as temperatures reached 90 degrees. The outage was first reported at about 2 p.m. Company spokesman Dick Marion said the problem has been corrected and service was being restored systematically, with everyone expec…

We won’t see any record-setting temperatures, and folks in the American West might be giggling at what we find oppressive, but Western New York is going through a hot, humid and relatively uncomfortable stretch for the next couple of days.“It’s going to remain very hot and dry through at least Wednesday, with maybe a sporadic shower here or there,” National Weather…