The gales of February: Wind whips WNY

Travel advisory remains for much of Western New York

February 25, 2019 - 4:41 am

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - The forecasts were right. Buffalo was bombarded with wind on Sunday, and we're not out of the woods yet.

Meanwhile the wind is pushing ice onto the Lake Erie shores with some residents of Hoover Beach taking part in a voluntary evacuation.

Erie County and City of Buffalo officials gave updates on the wind and some of the associated problems, such as power outages, which are currently extensive in the area. As of Sunday evening, many Erie County residents lost power.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says that restoration time could be as long as 48 hours in certain cases, and he noted the strength of the wind speeds.

"We do know that wind gusts have been recorded at over 70 miles-per-hour, straight-line winds of 30-40 miles-per-hour," he said. "This is a dangerous situation if you are out there; you do not need to be on the roads, do not go out on the roads."

There's a travel advisory in place for Erie County and Buffalo until further notice.

"There are trees down, there are multiple reports of falt-roofed buildings losing roofing material as well as partial blow-away of a roof at a building in Amherst," said Poloncarz. "Trees are blocking roads, taking power lines with them."

Gale Burstein is the commissioner of health for Erie County, and she provided some tips on how to make sure you stay safe during the storm:

The Skyway is currently closed, and when asked if it's likely that the Skyway will be closed for at least part of the morning commute, Poloncarz wasn't sure but said it's unlikely it would be open.

Mayor Byron Brown reiterated much of what Poloncarz said, especially urging against unnecessary travel.

"If you don't have to be out, we're asking that people just stay home," said Brown. "This is still a very dangerous storm and we want people to treat it that way."

Brown noted that the couple inches of snow combined with sustained winds could make travel difficult, and more than 8,000 city residents were without power as of Sunday evening.

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