Tonawanda News — “This was a fast moving, but very severe storm that came with extremely high winds and caused extensive damage to our electric system,” said Ken Daly, National Grid president, New York state. “We remain in close contact with local emergency response teams and local officials as we move from damage assessment to restoration efforts today.”
The Rod Cross opened a storm shelter Saturday morning at North Tonawanda High School but no residents needed the service and by 4:30 p.m. it had closed.
In the City of Tonawanda, Mayor Ron Pilozzi said roads and storm sewers were mostly able to keep up with the rainfall. The largest concern was when the Tonawanda Towers building lost power.
Pilozzi said city officials contacted National Grid to ask they make restoration at the senior apartment complex a priority.
“That was our biggest concern,” Pilozzi said. “We talked to National Grid and let them know they were a priority and they were very helpful.”
Beyond that, Pilozzi said the city weather the storm with relative ease.
“We kind of lucked out on this one,” he said.
That wasn’t the case to the north, where Ortt said the city was “fighting a losing battle” in the early morning hours, trying to augment the city’s sewer pumps inundated with storm runoff.
“A lift station on Nash Road was actually under water,” Ortt said. “The pumps in the station were submerged fully. We had to bring in additional pumps to pump out the station.”
Public Works Superintendent Bradley Rowles said his crews were extremely busy early Saturday removing trees and clearing roadways.
A portion of Wheatfield Street near Division Street was closed because it is being repaved and the street level actually sat below the storm drains, leading to flooding in the area.
“When you think about not just the water in the lift station ... all the water in the lines underground, you have to be able to drain those,” Rowles said. “We had such a huge amount of water come into the system.”