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Strong winds later tonight through Friday could cause widespread power outages

Photos by Cheryl Wertman: A park by the Erie Canal in Medina is shown this afternoon with the Glenwood Avenue bridge in back.

Staff Reports Posted 31 October 2019 at 5:29 pm

The National Weather Service is warning of powerful winds in Orleans County and much of Western New York from 8 tonight through 1 p.m. on Friday.

The Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a high wind warning with southwest to west winds at 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts of 60 to 65 mph expected.

The damaging winds will bring down numerous trees and power lines, with widespread power outages expected, the Weather Service said.

National Grid has 2,100 workers ready to respond to power outages

In preparation for forecasted gale-force winds moving west to east across portions of upstate New York beginning later tonight, National Grid has increased staffing to more than 2,100 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers, including line contractor support from as far away as South Carolina and Tennessee.

Crews are being prepositioned, particularly in western and central New York, where wind gusts off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are forecasted to be in excess of 70 mph.

In anticipation of the storm, the company also provides customers with the following safety reminders:

Electricity & Generator Safety

• If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.

• Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed

lines should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.

• Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.

• Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642- 4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 911.)

• Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.

• Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.

• Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

A reminder on estimated restoration times

Immediately after a storm, restoration times on National Grid’s Outage Central site may be listed as “assessing conditions.” That’s because safety hazards, such as trees, tree limbs, and downed wires must be cleared away so that infrastructure damage can be assessed and restoration plans can be executed.

It’s normal for outage numbers and ETRs to fluctuate. The numbers can go up and down as an ongoing storm causes new outages and/or as we de-energize lines to make conditions safe for repairs and restoration. Additionally, there could be new outages that occur that are separate from storm-related outages.

Outage Central Reminder: Our Outage Central page shows the estimated time of restoration for entire communities and reflects the estimated time for the last customer in that community to have power restored. The most accurate way for customers to check on the power restoration estimate for their specific address is to log into the National Grid’s Report or Check an Outage page.

This photo shows fog on the canal in Medina near the Horan Road bridge.

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