With a strong wind warning and a lakeside flood warning issued by the National Weather Service in Buffalo for Chautauqua County this weekend, the Chautauqua County Executive Office, the Sheriff’s Office and emergency services office remind residents to exercise caution and prepare.
The high wind warning is in effect Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and wind gusts are expected to reach 70 mph or more. These winds could lead to downed trees and power lines, widespread power outages, lakeside flooding, property damage and difficult driving conditions. The lake shore flood warning is in effect Saturday from 1 p.m. to Sunday to 1 a.m. Rapidly rising water levels will cause flooding on the shores of Lake Erie.
“The Chautauqua County Emergency Services Office is working with utility companies to prepare for storms expected this weekend,” said Noel Guttman, director of the Office of Emergency Services. “National Grid and NYSEG have moved resources to the area in preparation. Residents are encouraged to report all fallen lines and stay away from them. “
“Because of these high-impact winds, utility companies and emergency service officials predict that there will be power outages,” said Chautauqua County Manager PJ Wendel. “We urge residents to exercise extreme caution during this storm and take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families and their property.”
Residents are encouraged to prepare for this storm by:
Secure or bring any loose object that is outside and that could be blown away;
¯ Keep their cell phones and laptops charged;
¯ Have an emergency supplies kit with a portable battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, water, food and blankets;
Keep extra cash on hand and the vehicle’s gas tanks at least three-quarters full, such as during prolonged power outages, ATMs, credit card machines and gas pumps will not work;
¯ Avoid being outdoors in wooded areas and around trees and branches;
¯ If possible, stay in the lower levels of their accommodation during the storm and avoid windows;
¯ Determine if their home or work is in an area susceptible to flooding and access higher ground if the area is prone to flooding; and
Avoid flood water by never driving or walking through it.
In the event of an outage, residents can reduce the risk of fire by using flashlights in the dark, not candles. Any devices, equipment or electronic devices that were in use during the power failure must be turned off and disconnected. This will prevent damage to the equipment, which could occur if there is a power surge or spike when powering back on. Individuals should also leave a light on so that they know when the power returns.
People who use a generator should ensure that the device is kept outdoors and in a well-ventilated area. It should be at least 5 feet from doors, windows and vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from getting inside.
“Residents are also encouraged to eliminate unnecessary travel during an outage”, Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone said. “During an outage, traffic lights could be turned off, power lines could be down and roads could be congested. This storm also has the potential to flood roads in the riparian areas of the lakes. We ask residents to help us better respond to emergencies and prevent further accidents by reducing unnecessary travel and if you must travel, be careful and never drive in standing water.
If people see broken power lines, they should stay away from them and report the broken lines to their utility companies.
National Grid customers can report power outages or broken cables 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, whether a team has already been assigned to the area, and estimated restore times.
New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) customers can report power outages by calling 1-800-572-1131. Customers can also view the outage map online at outagemap.nyseg.com
For more information and advice on what to do before, during, and after a power outage, visit www.ready.gov.