Crews work to restore power, assistance offered to people still in the dark

Local News

The strong winds have come and gone but thousands of people still woke up in the dark across Western New York today.

The Harlem Road Community Center in Amherst was set up as a warming center overnight so people without power had a place to go.

“Well over 5,000 people still had issues, so we wanted to give the opportunity and the offer to the community if they needed someplace to go. It’s why we opened up the shelter,” said Jim Zymanek, Amherst Director of Emergency Services.

The Red Cross was also on hand with supplies.

National Grid and NYSEG is also distributing dry ice to people who lost power, trying to keep perishables cold and save food.

“When we have an outage that’s over 48 hours long for a certain number of customers we will offer this as part of our programs for outreach. The idea behind the dry ice is to keep your foods cold in the event of no power in your house,” said Peter Seitz from National Grid.

Amherst Director of Emergency Services Jim Zymanek says though things look much better today than they did yesterday, crews are still busy clearing debris.

“We’ve had a number of trees going down, and many of the trees snapped off instead of being uprooted because they were still frozen into the ground. So, we had trees that had issues. The Highway Department is going to be picking up roadside debris,” said Zymanek.

And while utility crews across Western New York are working to restore power, the owner of Master’s Barbecue in Hamburg is making sure they are well fed.

“We figured we’d smoke some extra pork butts, shred them up in the morning and drive around, try to find some crews out there working and get them some pork sliders and try to brighten up their day a little bit,” said Sean Collins, Master’s Barbecue Company owner.

National Grid said the company expects 90% of the customers experiencing power outages should have their power restored by midnight.

The Town of Amherst warming center will continue to be open for the distribution of dry ice and bottled water during normal business hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Harlem Road Community Center (4255 Harlem Road).  Call 839-6707 for information and pick up.

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