Fierce wind storm leaves damage, knocks out power to thousands

Feb 25, 2019

Sunday's fierce wind storm knocked out power to thousands of customers across Western New York. Utility crews are assessing the damage from the severe windstorm.

Storm damage in north Buffalo. This photo is from resident Emily Burns Perryman posted to the North Park Community Association Facebook page.
Credit Photo posted on North Park Community Association Facebook page

At one point Monday morning, more 44,000 customers were without power.

“We know that folks are frustrated with the lack of power and frankly the lack of clarity of when that power will be restored,” stated Deputy County Executive Maria Whyte.

Whyte provided an early morning update on the power outages across the county from Emergency Services in Cheektowaga.

National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas crews are ready to begin work, but must wait for the winds to diminish before they can begin fixing the downed power lines.

“It’s important that we communicate to the public that we cannot start to fix the lines until the maximum wind speeds drop below 40 miles per hour and that is not projected for some time yet,”  Whyte explained.

But extra crews are standing by. National Grid has brought in 900 extra crew members and another 50 are also expected to arrive Monday. Orchard Park, town of Amherst, City of Tonawanda and Town of Aurora were hit the hardest.    

Extra utility crews on standby outside Cheektowaga Town Hall.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Flooding has not been a problem, but massive ice chunks have washed up along the lake Erie shore and along the Niagara River.

Erie County Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Greg Butcher says ice breakers are working on the situation.

“I know we have been working through the night with our partners at the New York Power Authority. They continue to keep the ice breakers going. The reason behind that, not only the flow of ice to go down the river, but additionally the New York Power Authority, with its intakes, has an ability to help us maintain a static level in the river,” noted Butcher.

Erie County Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Greg Butcher.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Residents living along the Hoover Beach area in Hamburg were under voluntary evacuations Sunday.

More tree damage in Buffalo from Sunday's massive wind storm.
Credit Photo provided by Sharon Linstedt, Communications & Community Relations Coordinator for City of Buffalo

County officials report there have been no deaths or serious injuries reported from this storm.

Wind gusts varied across the region well over 60 miles per hour. The National Weather Service said maximum wind gusts at the Buffalo Airport were clocked at 69 miles per hour, but a gust of 72 was recorded in Hamburg.

As of 6 a.m. Monday the following roads remained closed in Erie County:

  • Route 5  
  • Lake Shore Road, Hamburg
  • Shimerville Road, Clarence
  • Indian Church Road, from Harlem to the Buffalo city line
  • Brown Hill Road, between Farner and Trevett in Boston
  • Trevett Road,Concord near Zoar Valley  

The county has established three 'warmng shelters' for residents without power. 

  • Lackawanna Senior Center, 230 Martin Road
  • Hoover Beach Community Center, 3880 Hoover Road, Hamburg
  • Harbor House, 241 Genesee St., Buffalo