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High winds drop trees, but snow stays behind; Few power outages reported in region

Residents across Western New York braced themselves against high, gusty winds late Friday as they also clamped down for light to moderate snow showers that were expected to blanket the region overnight.

With temperatures still hovering above freezing across much of the region by 9 p.m., rain, instead of snow, accompanied the high winds, which toppled trees and caused scattered power outages in some areas. Otherwise, only those areas in the higher elevations were expected to see snow before midnight.

"The primary thing right now is the high wind warning in effect," Judy Levan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, said late Friday.

"There are reports of 55 to 65 mph winds down in Dunkirk. We're also gusting close to 60 mph in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Trees were down in Jamestown, a couple limbs fell in Buffalo, and we had street lights down in the City of Buffalo," Levan continued.

"Temperatures are still above freezing, although they will continue to fall. In some areas of the higher elevations, the rain has already changed over to snow," she reported at about 9 p.m.

She said the rain was expected to change to snow across Buffalo Niagara as the temperatures dropped after midnight.

"Otherwise, lake effect snow can be seen across the Southern Tier from southern Erie to Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties," she added.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office confirmed reported calls of trees and wires down periodically throughout the county as a result of the high winds. While rain had already changed over to snow across the county by early evening Friday, there was little accumulation on the roads to cause travel problems.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office reported a "light dusting" of snow hitting the county's roads and also reported calls throughout the early evening of downed trees and wires. By midevening, the wind problems seemed to calm down.

Similar calls were reported throughout Wyoming, Orleans, Genesee and Livingston counties, though Wyoming County wasn't hit with snow and had only a couple reports of trees down, sheriff's deputies there reported.

Orleans County was largely spared of wind and snow problems Friday evening, reporting just periodic wind gusts that didn't cause significant damage.

Genesee County was spared snow problems, and the Sheriff's Office reported only one call of a tree down, and that was not determined to be caused by the wind.

Allegany County got hit with "quite heavy" snow midevening, but had only one tree toppled by wind, while Livingston County had only had a few tree and wire-down problems, deputies in those counties reported at midevening.

Earlier, meteorologists had anticipated a wintry blast would be headed our way as a mix of snow and gusty winds moved into the area sometime Friday evening or overnight.

A wind advisory was in effect from 3 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. today for much of the region as winds picked up to 25 to 40 mph with gusts of about 50 mph.

Temperatures were expected to drop into the 20s after midnight, and with that, forecasters predicted there would be some snow.