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Buffalo region awaits storm arrival & impact

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

It is a grey Monday across the Western New York region  as Hurricane Sandy heads our way.  For days, Sandy has been slowly moving up the East Coast and preparing to come ashore Monday night, moving in this direction.

Emergencies have been declared all over, including across New York State

While this area isn't expected to be hammered as badly as some areas closer to the coast, we will be getting very high winds and higher gusts, several inches of rain and expectations of flooding in local streams and rivers and along the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Bob Hamilton says there will be gusts up to 60-miles an hour along the Lake Ontario shore. 

"It's going to be breezy, but a lot of rain, light rain and drizzle," said Haminton.  "But it will be nothing like it's going to be Tuesday morning."

Erie County Emergency Services Director Daniel Neaverth Junior says a major concerns is trees being hit with winds from a different direction than their supporting roots are used to.

Chautauqua County Executive Gregory Edwards says that's an issue in his county, as well as Lake Erie waves.

"Many times, in the spring time we're worried about the ice floe pushing up against the shore and trapping the rain and the waters coming down the creeks.  Over the next 36-hours it'll actually be Lake Erie itself pushing up against the the banks and pushing into the mouths of the streams coming off the escapement into Lake Erie.  We have real concerns about potential flooding," said Edwards. 

A flood watch goes into effect at 2 p.m. Monday through Tuesday morning.  A high wind warning is in effect from 5 p.m. Monday unitl 2 p.m. Tuesday.   

A Lakeshore Flood Warning is in effect for Niagara, Orleans and Chautauqua Counties.

It will become breezy with highs in the upper 40's Monday.  Winds will be  10 to 20 miles per hour, the increase to 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 35.

By Monday evening, rain may be heavy at times and it will turn  very windy.  Winds 20 to 30 miles an hour, increasing  to 25 to 35  with gusts up to 60.

Tuesday rain and windy conditions will continue windy. 

The high, damaging winds could cause widespread power outages. 

The American Red Cross is responding across multiple states as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast.  

The American Red Cross has potential shelter locations and volunteers on standby throughout the eight counties of the Western New York region, ready to respond as needed.  The Red Cross is also working closely with government officials to plan and coordinate the relief response.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.