Share this article

print logo

Crews race against approaching cold to restore power to thousands

Crews from the region's two electrical power companies continued their race against an approaching cold front to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses that were knocked off the grid following a wild windstorm Wednesday.

The biggest concern was rapidly dipping temperatures.

"We're a little concerned about the weather," said Stephen Brady, a spokesman for National Grid. "More than a little, we're very concerned about the weather with temperatures dropping, obviously for our crews' safety. They've been working long hours. We're also concerned for our customers' sake."

The coldest day since Jan. 8 is expected in Buffalo Saturday.

Temperatures are forecast to dip to about 10 degrees by dawn. And, the mercury is expected to stay in the teens all the way until mid-day Sunday.

Saturday's high temperature in Buffalo isn't expected to escape the teens. (National Weather Service)

Beyond this weekend, there's not much of a warm-up in sight.

Temperatures aren't expected to recover back to above freezing through at least the end of next week, according to National Weather Service projections.

Buffalo's 10-day forecast? Call it 'Marchuary'

Cody Corke, a resident of County Line Road in Alden, said he and his family lost power to their home about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and have been making it on power supplied from a generator.

"We've got heat and cold water. That's about it," Corke said Friday morning.

"All the power lines are down across my driveway because three trees came down on the power lines, which snapped the telephone pole on either side of our property. We can't leave," he added.

Corke said a contractor removed the felled trees from his property on Thursday, but the poles that were holding the power lines still have to be replaced. He and his wife have an 8-month-old baby. The family was still without power late Friday night.

By Friday night, power should be restored to 90 percent of National Grid customers who lost power in Wednesday's storm, Brady said.

More than 13,000 National Grid and New York State Electric & Gas customers in the eight Western New York counties still were without power late Friday evening.

"We expect to be very close to done late tomorrow. There's always those few, for different reasons, might have to carry over, but we're also going to be in a position today to start moving resources to our hardest hit areas as we wrap up in the metro area and down in the Southern Tier, particularly," Brady said.

"As the last customers in those areas get picked up, we'll shift resources into that Genesee region to help out there," he added.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Winds down trees, close roads across Western New York]

Temperatures are expected to dip well below 20 degrees Friday night and Saturday, and several shelters across the region were anticipated to remain open. Brady urged customers who need them to seek them out.

"Let us get our jobs done and then worry about their homes. It's going to get really cold today and we're concerned about that. The concern with the cold is that the interior of homes start to get really cold, not only for personal safety, but people start worrying about pipes freezing, and it's just very hard on the crews. In storms like this, typically our crews will work 16- to 18-hour shifts."

Meanwhile, Rachel Buchanan, a spokeswoman for New York State Electric & Gas, said power to most of its customers should be restored by this afternoon.

Erie County still had 5,363 customers without power late Friday evening.

Hard-hit areas included the town and village of Orchard Park and the Town of Marilla.

Niagara County had 320 customers without power as of late Friday evening. Hardest hit were the towns of Newfane, Royalton, Lewiston, Hartland, Niagara and Porter.

In Wyoming County, 1,446 were still without power. Orleans and Genesee counties had 2,698 and 3,603 respectively.

[PHOTO GALLERY: The beauty of high winds on Lake Erie]

Story topics: / / / /

There are no comments - be the first to comment