BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands were left in the dark Saturday after howling winds and heavy rains blew through Western New York.

Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties were the hardest hit by outages.

NYSEG’s Stacy Bartl said people need to be patient because power needs to be restored in certain areas before others.

“We’ve got crews on standby,” said Bartl. “We’re ready for this. We’ve known it was coming.”

“Certain parts of our grid and infrastructure are more of a gatekeeper, if you will, or a center. So, even if maybe that particular area doesn’t have as many reported outages as another one, it’s critical to repair that first because it’s more of a sequential repair sequence and that will dictate further repairs down the line.”

Bartl said people need to be prepared in case their power gets knocked out.

“First and foremost is always safety,” added Bartl. “We recommend things like charging your phones, making sure your cell phones are charged, having a full tank of gas. It’s never a bad idea to have some battery-operated flashlights and radios on standby if necessary. And just to be prepared.”

And if you come across a downed power line…

“Never, ever approach a downed powerline. Make sure you stay at the very minimum at least thirty feet away. If you happen to be traveling in your car and there’s a downed powerline touching your car, stay inside and call NYSEG.”

Bartl also wants people to remember that before anyone’s power is restored, field crew safety comes first.

“They do what they can as soon as they can,” added Bartl. “But, they have to, of course, follow our stringent safety protocol at all times.”

This sort of weather always brings the chance for property damage. We’ve received pictures of shingles flying off of roofs, so make sure you have to be outside to stay alert.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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