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Winds gusting over 50 mph already, could get worse; about 5,000 without power

Winds gusting at more than 50 mph have been reported this evening and are expected to keep buffeting the region through 8 p.m.

Winds of more than 60 mph blew over northern Ohio and Southern Ontario as they headed southwest toward Western New York.

National Weather Service meteorologists warned of the potential for trees and power lines coming down. Currently there are a a few reports of downed trees. Trees may be especially vulnerable because of the combination of the ground soaking up melting snow and strong winds.

As of just after 6 p.m., more that 3,600 National Grid customers in Erie and Niagara counties had no power – mostly in Amherst, Williamsville, the Town of Tonawanda, North Tonawanda and Wheatfield. More than 1,400 NYSEG customs, mostly in Elma, have lost power.

The high-wind warning included Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Medina, Rochester, Batavia, Warsaw, Olean, Orchard Park and Springville.

Forecasters reminded motorists who come across non-functioning traffic lights to treat them as a four-way stop.