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Shelters set up for those affected by outages; thousands remain without power

Around 36,000 customers of National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas remained in the dark Thursday night.

Power crews were making headway, however.

That figure was down from more than 80,000 at 1 p.m.

By around 11 p.m., the number of customers without power in Erie County had shrunk to 11,686.

In Niagara County, there were 4,900 customers with outages, at around 11 p.m.

In some areas, where it appeared as though utility companies would not be able to restore power until Friday, officials were setting up shelters for residents overnight.

Temperatures across the Buffalo Niagara region are forecast to drop into the mid 20s overnight, and even colder this weekend.

Here's a list of some of those areas where warming shelters are already in place:

Erie County

Power to most homes in Erie County is expected to be online by midnight tonight in most places, however, some customers in Newstead aren't expected to come back up until 10 p.m. Friday, by utility estimates.

Newstead has set up a warming center at its Senior Center and Fire Hall at 5691 Cummings Road, according to Supervisor Dave Cummings.

"We're concerned about some of our seniors because they live in mobile home communities, and those communities don't have power," Cummings said.

So far, only a couple dozen residents in the dark have availed themselves of the warming center Thursday, the supervisor said.

On Thursday afternoon, the City of Tonawanda still had several hundred residences without power, mainly in the Millstream and Gastown sections of the city. However, the Fire Department said power was reported late Thursday afternoon, and plans to offer shelter at Fire Headquarters were canceled.

Niagara County

Some City of Lockport residents aren't expected to have power until at least Friday, officials said. Parts of five streets remained blocked by trees or wires Thursday evening, Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said.

"Residents who are seeking a warming shelter can go to the Salvation Army, 50 Cottage St., at the corner of Walnut Street," the city announced in a news release. "The Salvation Army can accommodate 100 residents during the day in the cafeteria and can accommodate 50 residents overnight, as they have 50 cots.  Residents can go to the Salvation Army any time today and into the evening."

In Niagara Falls, the John A. Duke Senior Center, 1201 Hyde Park Blvd., is open for warming until 10 p.m. The Niagara Community Mission, 1570 Buffalo Ave., and the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission, 1023 Ferry Ave., are open around the clock for warming or sleep.

Also, several volunteer fire companies in the county have made their fire halls available for shelter until power is restored. They include Frontier Fire Company, 2176 Liberty Drive, Wheatfield; Rapids Fire Company, 7195 Plank Road, Lockport; Wrights Corners Fire Company, 4043 Lake Ave., Lockport; Olcott Fire Company, 1691 Lockport St.; Wilson Fire Company, 250 Young St.; Barker Fire Company, 1660 Quaker Road; Terry's Corners Fire Company, 7801 Chestnut Ridge Road, Royalton; and Lewiston Fire Company No. 2, 1705 Saunders Settlement Road.

Announcement posted late Thursday afternoon by NY-Alert.

Orleans County

In Orleans County, emergency management director H. Dale Banker said Thursday afternoon the American Red Cross is working to establish a disaster shelter at the Medina Schools to help displaced residents with showers and food.

Other warming shelters in Orleans County include:

  • Lyndonville Fire Department, 148 N. Main St., Lyndonville.
  • Carlton Recreation Hall, 1813 Route 19, Carlton.
  • Eastern Orleans Community Center, 17 Public Square, Holley.
  • Medina Fire Department, 600 Main St., Medina.

Banker said officials are scheduled to be briefed by National Grid officials on the status of restoration efforts later today.

"Our concern is it's going to 24 degrees tonight and tomorrow night is 10 degrees," Banker said.

Genesee County

In Genesee County, emergency management officials announced that an emergency shelter at the Batavia VA Medical Center, 222 Richmond Ave., will be set up by evening.

Wyoming County

An emergency shelter has been opened in the Varysburg Fire Hall, 2446 Route 20A, staffed by American Red Cross volunteers with help from the fire company and the Wyoming County Emergency Management Department. The location is in the midst of some 6,000 customers still without power in the county. Questions may be directed to the Sheriff's Office at 585-786-2255 or the Varysburg Fire Company at 585-535-7984.

Buffalo News Staff Reporters Thomas J. Prohaska, Nancy A. Fischer and Dale Anderson contributed to this report.

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