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City officials bracing for high winds, possible power outages

City of Buffalo

Erie Basin Marina and Ralph C. Wilson Junior Centennial Park are already closed and utility crews are standing by in anticipation of today's windy weather. A High Wind Warning will be in effect today as gusts are expected to reach nearly 60 miles per hour.

"On the tree side, a storm of this magnitude as forecasted will take healthy trees down," said Michael Finn, Buffalo's Commissioner of Public Works, Parks & Streets.

"That's why we're taking this very seriously and approaching it with the extra crews that we have available."

Fresh in the minds of many city officials is the January windstorm which pummeled Ralph C. Wilson Junior Centennial Park. The park was closed for nearly two months while under repair.

National Grid says it's prepared with 200 company  and private repair crews available. More could be accessed, if necessary.

National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa says older properties in cities like Buffalo can pose repair problems.

"The challenge there is that a lot of people like to plant underneath those power lines in their backyards up against fence. And, then that grows into our powerlines," Kujawa said.

"We try to do as good a job as possible of making sure that we keep that trimmed. But, if wires come down because of tree activity, then we'll have to respond to that accordingly."

Mayor Brown is asking people who put their garbage out today to make sure their totes are back where they belong before the wind hits. He also sent along a safety reminder.

"Now, people have another reason to stay home," said Brown with a reference to the guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"So, please, everyone, stay home. Crews are standing by, ready to respond. But, you can do your part to help."

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.