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About 50 Buffalo houses hit by trees as windstorm cleanup continues

Monowar Begum lay sleepless next to her two young children Halloween night, praying to God to keep her and her children safe in their upper-floor flat on Hill Street in Buffalo. "Can you please stop the heavy winds?" she said she prayed as the 60-plus mile per hour winds buffeted the region.

That's when a thunderous boom shook the house. A massive tree had just crashed through the roof. She screamed to her children: "Get up! We're dying!"

Saturday morning, she returned to Hill Street to learn the house had been condemned – the roof was collapsed and one side of the house was bowed.

But she was happy to learn that the Red Cross would be helping her and children find temporary shelter.

Two days after a powerful storm ripped through Western New York, bringing down trees and power lines and flooding areas near the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River, public works crews and National Grid and NYSEG workers were still busy cleaning up the aftermath. The city continued to receive calls about fallen trees.

More than 100 trees came crashing down in the city overnight Thursday into Friday, about 50 of them hitting houses, according to Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Michael Finn. He updated reporters Saturday morning from Weiss Street in Kaisertown, where a tree fell through wires onto a house.

"This is one of the more complicated impacts," Finn explained. "We had to coordinate with National Grid to make it safe. Right now, we are removing the tree carefully from the house. National Grid will have to come back and restore the wiring."

City crews worked first to clear main and secondary roads that were blocked by trees and now are working on downed trees in more residential areas. Work is expected to continue through the week, Finn said.

"We are focusing on getting roads open and trees off of houses," Finn said.

In the meantime, there were still about 3,000 National Grid customers in Buffalo who did not have power midday Saturday, down from 14,000. There were also still about five traffic lights not fully functioning, down from about 20.

Both the Erie Basin Marina and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park (formerly LaSalle Park) reopened Saturday.

In Niagara Falls, Ont., parks police said an iron scow, which has been stuck in the upper rapids above Niagara Falls for more than a century, shifted "significantly from its position" because of the powerful storm.

Sean Kirst: Scow rescue tribute brings together legendary Falls family

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