Nearly all of the NYSEG customers in Lockport who lost power in the wake of the Halloween wind storm are expected to have their services fully restored by tonight, according to representatives from New York State Electric and Gas.
In a release, the utility company said the number of customers in the Lockport area who were still without power had been reduced to just four by late Friday. NYSEG said it had restored service to 900 customers that were impacted by the storm. The company announced that it expects to restore 95% of customers impacted in those areas by 11:30 p.m. today, with the exception of some isolated small areas requiring off-road equipment, system reconstructions or customer equipment repairs.
NYSEG noted that company crews have continued work to assess damage, perform make safe activities, clear roads and make repairs. The utility company indicated that crews will continue working throughout the night and until every customer is restored. More than 1,400 field personnel were engaged in restoration efforts across the state.
High winds, which featured gusts in excess of 60 mph at times, knocked down multiple trees and left an estimated 230,000 people without power across the region. In Lockport and surrounding communities, several large trees fell, some causing damage to nearby power lines.
Damage and power outages caused by the wind, which at times reached gusts in excess of 60 mph, prompted the cancellation of classes at Niagara County Community College as well as schools in the Lockport and Lewiston-Porter school districts. A power outage in the neighborhood near Niagara Street Elementary School in Niagara Falls forced the closure of that school building for the day as well.
Lewiston Town Supervisor Steve Broderick said the impact of the wind storm was significant but could have been much worse.
While the town, like other communities across Niagara County, dealt with its share of downed trees and power outages, Broderick said none of the issues were beyond the town’s ability to address.
One of the bigger problems encountered by town highway workers involved a tree that went down near Mount St. Mary’s Hospital. The tree, which damaged a utility pole, caused a power outage that impacted about 30 households.
“We did OK,” Broderick said. “There was not a lot of damage to the town, in the parks there are some limbs and branches, just like everywhere else, but we came through pretty good.”
On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Cayuga, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Saratoga and Warren Counties as heavy rains and high winds have caused flooding and power outages throughout most of the state. The extreme weather caused nearly 60 roads closures across the state and has left more than 241,000 buildings or homes without power. The governor deployed 200 members of the National Guard to assist localities with response and clean-up operations.
U.S. senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to expect a request for a major disaster declaration from the state of New York following a Halloween evening rain and wind storm that caused significant damage and loss of power across Western New York.
In a letter sent Friday to FEMA Acting Secretary Peter Gaynor, Schumer and Gillibrand noted the severe flooding and windstorm that rampaged through Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties while encouraging the agency to work with affected counties and the state to determine whether the damage meets the statutory threshold for FEMA disaster assistance.