County urges caution over high winds

With a high wind warning and lakeshore flood warning issued by the National Weather Service in Buffalo for Chautauqua County this weekend, the Chautauqua County executive’s office, Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Services are reminding residents to use caution and be prepared.

The high wind warning is in effect on Saturday from 1 to 11 p.m. and wind gusts are expected to be up to 70 mph or more. These winds could result in downed trees and powerlines, widespread power outages, lakeshore flooding, property damage, and difficult driving conditions. The Lakeshore Flood Warning is in effect on Saturday from 1 p.m. to Sunday at 1 a.m. The rapid rise in water levels will result in lakeshore flooding along the Lake Erie shore.

“The Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services is working with the utility companies to prepare for expected storm events this weekend,” said Noel Guttman, Director of the Office of Emergency Services. “National Grid and NYSEG have been moving resources to the area in preparation. Residents are encouraged to report all downed lines and to not approach them.”

“As a result of these high impact winds, utility companies and emergency officials are anticipating there will be power outages,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “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 an Emergency Supplies Kit with a portable battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, water, food, and blankets;

¯ 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;

¯ Avoiding being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches;

¯ If possible, remaining in the lower levels of their homes during the windstorm and avoid windows;

¯ Determining whether their home or work is in an area likely to flood and get to higher ground if there area is subject to flooding; and

¯ Avoiding floodwaters by never driving or walking through them.

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 be at least 5 feet 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. This storm also has the potential to flood roads in lakeshore areas. 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 and never drive in standing water.”

If individuals see downed electrical power lines, they should stay clear of them and report the downed lines to their utility companies.

National Grid customers can report power outages or downed wires by calling 1-800-867-5222. Customers can also view the Outage Map online at www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Business/Storms-Outages/Outage-Map. This map shows outages in their area, if a crew has already been assigned to the area, and estimated restoration times.

New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) customers can report electrical outages by calling 1-800-572-1131. Customers can also view the Outage Map online at outagemap.nyseg.com

For more information and tips on what to do before, during and after a power outage, visit www.ready.gov.


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