About 16,000 utility customers are still without power in Erie and Niagara counties, utility companies reported early Monday afternoon.
"We do not have global estimates," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said of when power might be restored. He cautioned that those without power should not expect that it will be restored today and that some will be without power until Tuesday.
Some 14,778 customers in Erie County, and 1,398 in Niagara County, were without power as of 3:15 p.m., according to National Grid and New York State Electric & Gas.
Daniel Neaverth Jr., Erie County's commissioner of emergency services and homeland security, said that the priority for utilities today is to clear blocked roads and get to downed lines at homes. "They are in their assessment phase," he said of the utility companies.
"It could have been a lot worse," Poloncarz said, adding that the damage from this storm is not expected to rise to the level of a FEMA emergency.
Erie County is setting up dry-ice distribution locations for residents of Amherst, Tonawanda and Buffalo, which is where authorities say a bulk of the outages remain. Details on those distribution sites will come Monday afternoon, officials said.
With winds subsiding, the Skyway has reopened to traffic.
Based on the coming cold temperatures, the county is also looking at setting up at least one, and maybe two, emergency shelters tonight for those without heat, Poloncarz said.
The number of customers without power peaked Sunday night at around 71,000. National Grid brought in an additional 900 personnel in the area as of early Monday, with another 50 workers set to arrive during the day.
Higher wind speeds make it problematic for crews to work up in the air in bucket trucks, said National Grid spokesman David Bertola. Even when wind gusts are high, crews can do other work on downed lines and in other elements of the transmission system, Bertola said.
Schools across the region were closed. A travel advisory for the county was lifted at about 1;30 p.m. Water levels near Tonawanda and Grand Island are high, but there have been no reports of flooding in those areas, officials said.
No deaths or serious injuries due to the storm have been reported.
The following warming centers are open in Erie County:
- Lackawanna Senior Center, 230 Martin Road.
- Marilla Senior Center, 1810 Two Rod Road.
- Tonawanda Senior Center, 35 Main St., City of Tonawanda.
- Harbor House, 241 Genesee St., Buffalo.
- Grand Island Senior Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road.