Winds whip through, bringing down trees and leaving swaths of WNY without power


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The winds that began Thursday night uprooted trees, took down Halloween decorations, tested first responders and eventually reached gusts of 65-plus miles per hour.

Schools and businesses were closed across the region, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 11 New York counties, Erie and Chautauqua among them.

The city of Buffalo was the epicenter of power outages, according to National Grid. Both that utility and NYSEG estimated power returning to nearly all customers by Saturday evening.

In Buffalo’s Elmwood Village, Jim Lenker avoided disaster by just feet. His next-door neighbors weren’t so lucky. A tree branch went through their five-year-old son’s window.

“There’s no manual for how to deal with these things when they come up. It’s not like we get to practice them or know exactly what to do. You kind of make it up as you go along,” Lenker said.

On West Ferry, a tree 30 inches in diameter came down on a playground and picnic area of Nardin Academy’s Oishei campus. There, Bill Parkhill of Parkhill Tree and Land Management was busy on his third stop of the day.

“We kind of expected it. With the wet ground yesterday, all that rain, we knew there were going to be major uprooting issues,” Parkhill said.

City officials said they had hundreds of calls for downed trees, smashing parked cars and upending sidewalk partitions, but despite close calls, no injuries were reported in the city.

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