Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 21, 2013


Mother Nature dials up another punishing storm

BY BILL WOLCOTT bill.wolcott@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Niagara County paid the price for breaking the heat wave Saturday. Trees were felled, power lines were broken, flooding made streets impassable and the Labatt Canal Concert was canceled in Lockport.

Phone calls and text messages went out to residents about 3 a.m. Saturday advising them to stay off area roads. The Lockport police fielded about 300 overflow calls from Niagara Falls where basements were flooded.

Temperatures that hovered around 90 degrees for two weeks dropped about 25 degrees to the mid 60s. Sunny skies and a 78-degree high is expected in Lockport today, according to the National Weather Service.

Bill Ott, who lives next to his son’s house on the 4900 block of Saunders Settlement, lost power about 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Power was out 15 to 20 minutes and came back. At 9:30 p.m. it was off again and was still off Saturday.

Ott, who moved to Wazik’s Curve in 2001, said, “We often get wind but I’ve never seen it quite like that. It was the worst I’ve ever seen.”

A large maple tree on his property was split in half and the top of another tree came down. The yard was littered with several branches and smaller trees were lost. “They will have to be taken out,” Ott said. “Fortunately there was no structural damage to the house.”

The highest wind at the Niagara Falls Airport registered 66 mph at about 10 p.m.

Tim Dzebasy wasn’t at his house on the north side of Saunders Settlement when he got a call. “We were out and a friend of mine said, ‘You out to bring a chain saw to get home.’”

He took the advice. Tim and his wife Megan were using a chain saw clearing a large fallen tree from their driveway on Saturday morning.

Several power outages occurred in the City of Lockport, which is serviced by New York State Electric and Gas, while hundreds more were recorded in the Town of Lockport, Cambria, Lewiston and the Town of Niagara. National Grid said there were 16,158 outages were reported in the county.

Utility companies were busy restoring power and deputies from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department were out the road with Sheriff James Voutour.

”This was a fast moving, but very severe storm that came with extremely high winds and caused extensive damage to our electrical system,” said National Grid, NY President Ken Daly. “We remain in close contact with local emergency response teams and local officials as we move from damage assessment to restoration efforts (Saturday).”

The utility said it expected to have all its customers back online by Sunday.