Southern Niagara County was in the sweet spot Wednesday for the formation of several rounds of thunderstorms that dumped as much as 3 inches of rain in some areas, quickly overrunning stormwater drains and flooding streets, yards and basements.
Sanborn, Wheatfield and Lockport were in the path of the heavy downpours that fell during the afternoon hours.
“The storms formed in part along a lake breeze boundary extending northward from Lake Erie and southward from Lake Ontario,” said Dave Thomas, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Buffalo. “Where those two boundaries met was the focal point for the showers and thunderstorms.”
“When the thunderstorms formed, they kind of lined up,” said Thomas. “When one stopped dropping its rainfall, there was another one right behind it, and it dumped another downpour.”
Rainfall amounts were still being tabulated late Wednesday; however, the Weather Service reported that 2 to 3 inches of rain fell in a three- to four-hour time period during the afternoon in the heaviest areas. The Niagara Falls International Airport weather station reported 1.08 inches of rain Wednesday as of about 8 p.m. Buffalo Niagara International Airport, meanwhile, picked up only two-hundredths of an inch.
Hail – up to three-quarter inch in diameter – also fell in Lockport, Cambria and at the Niagara Falls airport, according to the Weather Service.
Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said a bolt of lightning struck 7066 Brian Lane at about 1:30 p.m., entering the house through the living room ceiling. The homeowner, Theresa J. Szelest, 52, was sitting on her living room couch when the strike occurred and was shaken up. She was evaluated by paramedics and found to be all right. St. Johnsburg volunteer firefighters checked her house and determined there was no fire.
Other damage reported included neighborhood flooding around Lockport Road and Eagle Chase Drive near Sanborn. Roads and intersections were also flooded.
“This airmass is producing fallish-type temperatures,” Thomas said. “The lakes are about at their warmest points right now in the lower 70s. As the cold air aloft goes over the lakes, it creates enough instability.”
Thomas said a few waterspouts over Lakes Erie and Ontario are also possible this morning.
By Friday, temperatures are forecast to return to the low 80s in Buffalo.
News Niagara Reporter Nancy A. Fischer contributed to this report. email: email@example.com