Tonawanda News

January 5, 2013

Wind hits Western New York with gusts reaching 64 mph.

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — High winds struck the Tonawandas Friday, with the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory for most of the day.

Local weather guru Jack Kanack, who has a professional weather station in the backyard of his North Tonawanda home, said the highest winds came just before noon.

He recorded a high sustained gust, over a period of two minutes, at 55 mph, and the highest gust at any one second at 64 mph at 11:17 a.m.

“Those are very high,” he said.

Both the City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda didn’t see many downed trees, however, with just one small one falling over the bike path in Veteran’s Memorial Park.

“The leaves are now off, and the ground has frost, so the trees are being OK,” North Tonawanda Department of Public Works Superintendent Brad Rowles said. 

But DPW workers still remained busy, and Rowles said the biggest issue was snow drifting onto the roads due to the gusts.

City of Tonawanda Department of Public Works Superintendent Neal Myers agreed, and said his team was clearing some streets up to eight times within a few hours.

“We have at least a dozen drift areas,” Myers said. “We are going to continue working until the high winds die down.”

Myers said workers spent a lot of time at the Spaulding Fibre site due to the area’s open nature.

“Most of the snow that was on Spaulding is now on Wheeler,” he said. “We plow the roads, and then 45 minutes later, we are going over them again.”

The winds also caused a number of power outages in the area. Western New York saw about 400 customers without power, but the Town of Tonawanda accounted for most of those.

According to the National Grid website, 308 customers were out of power in the area north of Sheridan Drive between Military Road and Delaware Avenue.

Another cluster was recorded on both sides of Englewood Avenue, but National Grid spokesman Steve Brady wasn’t aware of any downed lines.

“They are due to pole transformers,” Brady said. “The transformers pop, it’s not atypical for this kind of wind.”

Despite the dread of walking outside Friday, Kanack said better weather is on its way, with Saturday likely to be uneventful. Less than an inch will fall both Saturday and Sunday, but with temperatures in the 30s, most of it

won’t stick.

“And the good news is that next week, between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15, it’s going to warm up,” he said. “We are looking at high 30s, and may even reach 45 or 50 degrees at the end of

next week.”

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150