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Traffic officials ban empty big rigs on Thruway because of high winds

Because of expected high winds, the state Thruway Authority has banned empty tractor-trailers from using the highway between Exit 44/Canandaigua-Victor and 61/Ripley until 4 p.m. Thursday.

The ban took effect at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The winds can cause serious traffic accidents if they blow against the broad sides of lightly loaded or empty tractor-trailers.

The high winds expected to blow off Lake Erie are part of a broader forecast that calls for a lakeshore flood warning until 1 p.m. Thursday in coastal areas of Erie and Chautauqua counties.

Strong southwest winds are pushing the water of Lake Erie to the northeast. Water may wash across Route 5 in Athol Springs, according to the weather service.

Motorists are advised to drive with extreme caution and to adjust for conditions while traveling through the warning area along the Thruway.

Southwest winds, gusting at up to 65 miles per hour, will usher in a strong cold front, which may produce a squall line of showers and possibly thunderstorms. The winds also carry the threat of downed trees and power lines, and damage to unsecured holiday decorations.

The AccuWeather forecast calls for a cloudy sky Thursday with some snow flurries and a daytime high temperature of about 41 degrees. The day’s low is expected to be about 33 degrees.

Friday’s outlook is for a partly cloudy sky, a high temperature of 45 degrees, and a low of 38.