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Winds up to 68 mph bring down trees, power lines; travel advisory in effect

Poloncarz issued a travel advisory – no unnecessary travel – in Erie County at about 2:15 p.m., with the National Weather Service declaring the storm.
“Reports of downed trees began coming in by early afternoon on Royal Oak Drive in Clarence, on Woodbridge Avenue in Buffalo, and on Seneca Street and on Grover in Aurora.In at least one case, emergency crews responding to a tree striking a building in Buffalo requested the city engineer or building inspector to evaluate the damage.Versailles Plank Road was closed in both directions in the Town of Evans between New Jerusalem Road and Pontiac Road because of a downed tree and utility lines, according to the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition.Seneca was also closed between Knox and Bowen, but later reopened.Poloncarz, citing the Buffalo Fire Department, earlier reported that a neighborhood near Hertel Avenue and Commonwealth Road in Buffalo has lost power, as has an area in the Town of Aurora near Route 20A and Buffalo Road.
There are also power losses along Elmwood Avenue in the city, and in other parts of Western New York.Emergency responders also reported a light pole had fallen at Garfield and Niagara streets, striking a woman, who was reported to be unconscious.No electric wires were exposed. Another woman was injured when a tree branch struck a house on East Delavan Avenue in Buffalo.And there was a report of people temporarily trapped in a Dollar General store on Twin Cities Memorial Highway in North Tonawanda because of downed wires.The Erie County Department of Public Works also tweeted that it has a crew clearing a flood area on Emerling, and “another crew out checking trouble spots.”Traffic lights on Transit Road are also out from Bullis to French roads, and the state Department of Transportation reminded motorists to come to a full stop at any intersection with a traffic light that is out before proceeding according to right-of-way rules.A wind storm update from the 16th floor of the Rath Building: short version is the building is shaking and its getting nasty out there.
Another 1,018 were without power in Genesee County and more in Orleans, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. The rest are elsewhere in the state.New York State Gas Electric, the region’s other major utility provider, said it has crews working to restore power in Niagara, Elma, Holland, Orchard Park, Hamburg, Aurora, Cheektowaga and Depew. About 1,839 people in all were without NYSEG power in Erie County.
crews responding to extensive outages in Erie and Niagara counties. If winds persist, there may be a period of time that we will have to wait to start restoration for safety reasons.Crews will focus on cutting and clearing wires and trees to make conditions safe.February 24, 2019National Grid spokesman David Bertola said the outages so far are not unusual even for a normal day, citing “a couple of outages” two weeks ago on a Monday.National Grid has 1.6 million customers, so fewer than 1 percent are currently without power.
The company positioned more than 3,250 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers in Buffalo, Batavia and Fredonia in preparation for the storm.”I don’t want to downplay the number, because when you’re without power, it stinks and nobody wants to be without power,” Bertola said.But “at this point in the storm, this is a number that we could experience on a blue-sky type of day.”However, he cautioned that the company expected the effects of the current storm to be similar to one from two years ago that left many without power, in some cases for several days.He noted that crews have to first remove fallen trees from the ground before they can make repairs, but “we can’t put people in bucket trucks in 50 mph winds.””It’s going to take time and it’s not going to be a fast process if we get multiple outages like we did two years ago,” Bertola said.

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