BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Driving rains followed by powerful winds brought down tree limbs and knocked out power to thousands across western New York.
Despite all the forewarning, there's really not much any of us can do when winds do as much damage as this except hope we're not in the way when it happens and pick up the pieces, afterward.
PHOTO GALLERY | See more pictures of storm damage from around WNY
Friday's strong winds toppled trees, power lines, and even part of a building on Buffalo's east side. A vacant three-story warehouse on Guilford Street just couldn't stand up to gusts peaking at 62 miles per hour. Its entire southeast corner crumbling, spilling into the street.
Buffalo Fire Battalion Chief Tom Meldrum said, "The roof was already in bad shape; it already, previously collapsed. And so there was nothing stabilizing the outside wall. The winds just kicked up and took the wall down."
Seemingly solid trees were yanked up from their roots like weeds. In all, the City of Buffalo received about 75 calls reporting tree-related damage.
Thirty-eight of those calls were about whole trees that had come down, including one that smashed several cars near D'Youville College as it fell.
On seeing the damage, one woman cried out, "Seriously, what did I do?"
She's not alone in her shock, or misery.
Nichole Erab said, "I'm borrowing the car for the weekend, and I wake up in the morning for people saying, 'Oh my God! The tree fell!' And I look, and it's my mom's car!"
Neighbors pitched in to partially move the tree out of the street, until the city could come for the rest. It was a welcome relief, to this concerned mom.
"There was [sic] kids playing and everything on the tree, jumping on it, and that's very dangerous. So they came together, they cleaned it up. There's a big bus route coming down this street," Erab said.
Some western New Yorkers found themselves drawn to the lakefront and were mesmerized by the sight of the wind kicking up impressive whitecaps in Lake Erie's choppy waters.
Bill Thornton said, "This is wonderful. This is the only time of the year we get surf."
Of those 38 trees that fell in the City of Buffalo, a spokesman says about two-thirds of them have been cleaned up. Crews were going to keep working as late as they could Friday night, but at a certain point, once it gets dark out it's just too dangerous.
Any damage that is not cleared Friday night will be picked up first thing Saturday morning.
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