Tonawanda News

Local News

July 21, 2013

Storms rumble through region

Tonawanda News — A line of severe thunderstorms passed through Western New York early Saturday drenching the Tonawandas and knocking out power to thousands overnight.

North Tonawanda’s Wurlitzer Park area was hardest hit by flooding after rain overpowered a lift station on Nash Road, leaving sewer lines backed up for hours.

Compounding backed up sewer lines, electric outages due to numerous downed trees and branches left some homeowners without the juice to power sump pumps, Mayor Rob Ortt said.

“I know a lot of folks did get water in their basements from the backups,” Ortt said. “That’s obviously something we’re all going to be dealing with.”

North Tonawanda saw the heaviest rainfall in the Tonawandas with 4.3 inches coming down from about 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Hibbert said.

Readings across the city and town ranged from 2 inches to 2.3 inches.

The rain wasn’t the only problem, however. Heavy winds — a top gust of 66 mph was recorded at the airport in Niagara Falls — downed trees and power lines.

At the peak of the storm, Ortt said 2,500 people in the city were without power. All but a few hundred had their power restored by midmorning and National Grid said they expected to have service restored to all NT customers by Saturday evening.

At Canal Fest, a handful of tents went down during the storm and needed to be replaced, Fest President Larry Denef said. Thanks to the timing only a few hours were lost to the deluge and Saturday’s craft show and other events went on as scheduled.

Across Niagara County, about 17,000 people lost power at some point due to the storm. Across all of Western New York, 28,500 people lost service, the utility company said. Some in the hardest hit areas outside the Tonawandas could be without power through Sunday evening, according to a National Grid statement.

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