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High winds pushing Lake Erie ice pack over the boom; flash flood watch issued

A sharp cold front associated with a strong storm system will lower the boom on the Buffalo Niagara region today.

Winds gusting up to 65 mph are possible and strong winds have been knocking down trees and power lines.

The weather service had a high wind warning in effect for all of Western New York until 8 p.m. It runs until 11 p.m. in Niagara and Orleans counties.

The southwesterly flow has created a seiche on Lake Erie, thrusting the lake waters eastward and raising the lake level by several feet.

The water level on the eastern end of Lake Erie has risen by 3 feet, while the western end has dropped by more than 5 feet, according to The Weather Channel's Tom Niziol.

Forecasters said that could cause ice remaining on the lake to be pushed over the Niagara River ice boom and into the upper river that could cause damage along the shoreline.

"The remaining ice may bring erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline," the weather service said.

A spokesman for the New York Power Authority, which installs and removes the ice boom, said the boom is working like it's supposed to.

"The ice boom is designed to temporarily submerge as a limited amount of ice flows over top. In some cases, a span cable or pontoon could break loose," spokesman Lou Paonessa said in an email.

Water levels measured near the former Huntley Power Plant along the river in the Town of Tonawanda helped trigger a flash flood watch, which was issued late this morning for northern Erie County and Niagara County for areas along the upper Niagara River.

"The ice in the river is still moving, which is what we all want," Paonessa said.

Ice jams are possible, which could result in flooding along the river, the weather service said.

The flash flood watch runs though 8 p.m.

The gustiest winds are forecast along the New York shoreline late this morning and early this afternoon and are expected to result in some lakeshore flooding with some erosion and scouring along the shoreline from ice that remains on Lake Erie. (Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

A lakeshore flood warning was posted for Erie and Chautauqua counties through 4 p.m.

What's more?

Rain, and then possibly some snow.

Forecasters called for rain showers this morning then a slight chance for snow showers as temperatures plummet behind the cold front.

Little accumulation was expected.

The warmest temperatures of the day came in the wee early hours with the thermometer near 60 degrees.

It dipped into the 30s by 7 a.m. and was expected to continue dropping into the 20s by evening.

Chances for show showers continue into tonight.

Forecasters expect it to stay breezy, with gusts over 30 mph.

Temperatures are forecast to bottom out in the 20s, but it'll feel like it's in the teens with the wind.

Chances for snow remain in the forecast Thursday and become likely by Friday.

Daytime highs both days are forecast in the mid-30s.

And, the weekend won't be any warmer, forecasts showed.

Saturday's temperatures were forecast in the 30s in Western New York:

(National Weather Service)

The same unseasonable chill was expected to persist Sunday:

(National Weather Service)

Buffalo's average high temperature for this time in April is 50 degrees.

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