Tonawanda News — A high wind warning and a flood watch are in effect for the area until Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
"The warmer temperatures are going to cause the snow to melt," Tom Paone, of the National Weather Service, said. "That coupled with the rain will cause localized flooding, especially if you live near a small river or creek."
Paone said temperatures will reach 40 degrees overnight, and may hit 50 degrees by the morning. Residents will also have to deal with high winds, which are projected to be as high as 25 mph and 35 mph, with gusts reaching 60 mph.
"Winds of this magnitude will bring down some trees and power lines ... and result in scattered power outages," the service's warning states. "Travel will be difficult in high profile vehicles."
The service's website also states that ice on streams and creeks may break up and increase the risk of ice jams and rising water.
"This would significantly increase local flooding potentially near these waterways," the flood watch statement reads.
The American Red Cross issued a statement Thursday urging Western New York residents to prepare for the flooding.
"By preparing together for floods, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger," Regional CEO Nancy Blaschak said. "Unfortunately, some of this region has experienced the devastation flooding can cause this winter."
The Red Cross is recommending that residents create a disaster plan.
"Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding," the release states. "Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment's notice."
Residents should also assemble an emergency preparedness kit, including first aid materials, batteries, essential medication, bottled water and food that doesn't need to be cooked. Locals should also listen to media for updated flooding and head for high ground if a flash flood warning is issued.
"Stay away from flood waters ... if you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go the other way," the statement cautions.
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.