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STORMS CAUSE POWER OUTAGES, FLOODING IN SOUTHERN TIER

Severe thunderstorms Monday morning uprooted trees and knocked out electricity in Dunkirk, Fredonia and Cassadaga. Elsewhere on the Southern Tier, heavy downpours caused short-term flooding.

Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. reported that lightning strikes about 8 a.m. interrupted power to four feeder lines in Dunkirk, blacking out about 2,000 customers in the southern part of the city for an hour or more.

Also hard hit was the northern section of the adjacent Village of Fredonia.

"The weather turned so fast and the storm was moving so quickly we were bracing for the worst," said Fredonia Fire Chief Charles Frazita. "But the damage was not as extensive as we had anticipated."

Electrical transformers on Frisbee Road and on Route 60 near Route 20 caught fire after apparently being struck by lightning.

In nearby Sheridan, two trees fell on Route 20 near Swamp Road.

Large trees were felled by wind gusts in Cassadaga and Lily Dale. In Cassadaga, a walnut tree crushed a pickup truck. In Lily Dale, a tree crashed through the kitchen of a home.

The wind damage was sharply demarcated. One Cassadaga resident noted that the storm destroyed part of her flower gardens, but left the other portions virtually untouched.

Sam St. George experienced the same phenomenon on his farm in Sheridan.

"It flattened down an acre of corn, just like a bulldozer ran over it," St. George noted. Nearby fields were unaffected, he said.

In Little Valley, heavy rains turned the fairgrounds to mud for the opening day of the 155th annual Cattaraugus County Fair.

Other parts of Western New York had only brief encounters with thunder, lightning and rain during the morning commute. In Buffalo, the official rainfall amounted to just .14 inch.

The storm, triggered by an incoming cold front, gave the area what will probably be the last rain it will see for the rest of the week. Today through Saturday, the forecast calls for sunny and pleasant days with temperatures in the 70s and comfortably cool nights.

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