BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – 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. More 44,000 customers remain without power as of Monday afternoon.
“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.
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.
Residents living along the Hoover Beach area in Hamburg were under voluntary evacuations Sunday.
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.