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Power Out for Thousands Following Ice Storm

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Many Western New Yorkers awoke early Friday to the eerie sound of tree limbs cracking and falling to the ground. The culprit was freezing rain that caused significant icing, especially in areas north of Buffalo. Crews from Niagara Mohawk and New York Electric and Gas are out in force restoring power. Ni-Mo Spokesman Steve Brady says the task is daunting. Ni-Mo had an estimated 59,000 customers without power. New York State Electric and Gas had 36,000. It may take until Sunday to restore all service.

The freezing ended around 9:00 Friday morning. Temperatures rose more than 20 degrees in less than four hours and then began plunging again. The warmer temperatures melted the ice on tree limbs and power lines.

A wind gust late Friday morning reached 63 miles per hour. The strong winds brought down the Paddock Golf Dome in Tonawanda. There were no injuries. Brady says the strong winds hampered work crews trying to restore power.

A high wind warning was scheduled to remain in effect through the evening hours Friday. Winds should subside overnight. Flood warnings are in effect for Cazenovia Creek in West Seneca, Buffalo Creek in Gardenville and Cayuga Creek in Lancaster. Flooding has or will occur as the creeks crest above flood stage.

Amherst Town Supervisor Susan Grelick has issued a State of Emergency in the town. It will continue until power is restored. She's also instituted a travel ban.

Weekend activities are cancelled at Amherst and Williamsville schools. Saturday activities have been called off at the Erie Community College North Campus.