Tonawanda News

August 26, 2013

NT homes lose power

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News —

A brief but powerful storm swamped parts of Erie and Niagara counties Monday afternoon, causing power outages throughout North Tonawanda and surrounding areas. 

As city officials begin to formulate a plan to combat widespread power outages and problems related to flooding in residential neighborhoods in June and July, the rains on Monday knocked out power to 1,614 homes in the Lumber City, more than 1,000 in the Town of Wheatfield and 16 in Tonawanda, according to the Niagara County Fire Wire. National Grid representatives did not return several calls for comment. 

Bill Hibbert, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said as of 4:30 p.m. Monday about 0.69 inches fell at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, with more localized data unavailable until later in the evening. 

He said scattered showers would trail through the night, with very little chance of rain for Tuesday. 

"There may be another round lifting late Tuesday and into Wednesday," he said. "But until then there is a very low chance if any chance at all." 

Brad Rowles, superintendent of the North Tonawanda Department of Public Works, said there were no reports of flooding as of early evening, though hundreds of homes lost power, mostly near the border with Wheatfield. Power was expected to return by 6 p.m. Monday. 

City employees also used a generator for the Ward Road water pump station to combat the potential for flooding, an issue that has plagued several areas of the city amid heavy rainfall this summer. 

"We got an alert that the storm was coming, it hit about 2:30," Rowles said. "It did knock out power in one portion of the city in the Wheatfield grid. It was another bad event and we were able to keep everything running. But another bad storm came rolling through and it wasn't well-predicted." 

He added: "We don't need any more rain this summer, we definitely got our fill. If we had an inch today we would have been worried. If we had two inches, we would have been really worried." 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.