Wind gusts of 75 mph likely on Sunday

Downed trees are expected during the high winds Sunday and Monday.

Sunday and Monday will be anything but a breeze to get through.

For 24 hours, beginning at 7 a.m., a high wind warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. Winds from 30 to 40 mph and gusting to 75 mph are likely.

Those strong gusts will bring down trees and power lines and result in scattered to numerous power outages, the weather service notes. Shallow rooted pines will be particularly vulnerable. Minor property damage is also possible, especially to roofs and siding. Travel in high profile vehicles will be very difficult at times.

In light of the warning, the city of Dunkirk has announced it is canceling the unsorted recycling collection for Monday. The next scheduled collection date is Monday, March 11. Residents may also drop off recycling during the hours of 6:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Saturday.

Mayor Wilfred Rosas and the Department of Public Works would like to remind residents the city is readily prepared to address any issues with branches and trees should they arise.

If you see something that requires immediate attention or is a matter of public safety, please call the Department of Public Works at 366-9832 during the day or the Dunkirk Police Department at 366-2266.

County officials also are taking note. “Our office is preparing for these high winds by notifying agencies of this predicted storm,” said John Griffith, Director of the Office of Emergency Services. “We will be monitoring this county-wide event throughout the weekend and are prepared to react and respond as needed.”

“As a result of these high winds, utility companies and emergency officials are anticipating there will be widespread power outages that could last for several days in some areas,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. “We are urging residents to use extreme caution during this storm and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their family and their property.”

Residents are encouraged to prepare for this storm by:

• Securing or bringing in any loose items that are outdoors that could be blown away by the wind;

• Keeping their cell phones and laptops charged;

• Having a radio and extra batteries handy to listen for directions from local officials; and

• Keeping extra cash on hand and vehicle gas tanks at least three-quarters full as during extended power outages, ATMs, credit card machines and gas pumps will not work.

If an outage occurs, residents can reduce the risk of fire by using flashlights in the dark and not candles. Appliances, equipment or electronics that were in use when the power goes out should be turned off and disconnected. This will prevent damage to the equipment, which could occur if there is a surge or spike when the power comes back on. Individuals should also leave one light turned on so they will know when the power comes back on.

Individuals who are using a generator should ensure that the device is kept outdoors and in a well ventilated area. It should always be kept away from doors, windows and vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from coming indoors.

“Residents are also encouraged to eliminate any unnecessary travel during an outage,” said Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone. “During an outage, traffic lights could be out, electrical power lines could be down, and roads may be congested. We ask that residents help us better respond to emergencies and prevent additional accidents by reducing unnecessary travel and if you must travel, please use caution.”

If individuals see downed electrical power lines, they should not touch them, keep their family and pets away from them, and report the downed lines to their utility companies.