CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – A popular golf dome on Wehrle Drive was ripped apart Friday as near-hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions battered Western New York.
“I presume it’s not salvageable,” Clarence Town Supervisor Patrick Casilio told News 4. “Hopefully the foundation isn’t damaged.”
No injuries were reported when The Dome came down, Casilio said. He hopes the connected restaurant, Local Grille, and the Golf Headquarters retail store will be able to reopen soon. (The facility was known as the Wehrle Golf Dome until new ownership took over in 2017.)
“We won’t be gone long,” The Dome wrote on Facebook. “Hoping to get back up and running quickly.”
Sandie Kobee lives behind the dome and was shocked to see pieces of it flying outside her window.
“We were without power and it’s freezing, so we were changing and all the sudden I see this — what the hell is that?” Kobee recalled. “We saw this big thing hanging over and it ripped apart.”
Kobee shared video of the aftermath with News 4.
“It just blew off! The entire dome,” she exclaimed in the video.
Kobee said she later called 911 when the pieces of the dome got caught on a nearby building because she was worried they might start a fire.
The Buffalo area was put under a blizzard warning starting at 7 a.m. Friday. Extreme conditions will last through the holiday weekend. Wind gusts as high as 72 mph were recorded at the Buffalo airport Friday afternoon.
“It was so wicked,” Kobee said of the weather. “It’s like something you would see out of a movie.”
Casilio said NYSEG crews were working through the storm to restore power and had already gotten 5,000 customers in the Clarence, Lancaster and Newstead areas back online. He said power officials told him utility workers have to “wait for winds to die down to 40-50 miles an hour” before they do most of the work they need to do.
Tens of thousands of Western New Yorkers lost power Friday. Whether it can be restored before Christmas remains to be seen.
* * *
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.