Wind gusts approached, and even exceeded, 60 mph overnight in some spots throughout Western New York, leaving several thousand people without power but toppling a lot fewer trees than the more damaging storm 2½ weeks ago.
Observers noted that the damage was minimal enough that local media outlets all showed the same tree down, on Townsend Street, near St. Stanislaus Catholic Church on Buffalo’s East Side.
The National Weather Service reported its highest overnight wind gust, 59 mph, at 1:14 a.m. at its office in Cheektowaga. Sustained winds, defined as those lasting at least two minutes, were measured at 43 mph.
Spotters also filed unofficial reports of gusts measuring as high as 63 mph in Niagara Falls, shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Roughly 5,000 to 7,000 homes and businesses lost electrical power at some time overnight, and most of those were expected to have their power restored by late this morning.
“As expected, we started to see some impact last night, along the lakeshore in the Southern Tier, and then it moved north and east toward the city,” said Stephen F. Brady, National Grid’s media relations manager. “But we haven’t had sustained, massive outages.”
Meteorologists cited two reasons for the damage not being as extensive as it was during similar wind conditions on Nov. 1, the morning after Halloween.
“When you have that first event of the year, it probably takes down the trees that have weakened since the last wind event” last spring, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell said.
Also, the ground wasn’t as wet as it was at the beginning of the month.
“The combination of those two made the damage much worse,” Mitchell said of the earlier event.
The overnight high winds here from the big storm that devastated parts of the Midwest are expected to start calming down today, as the high-wind warnings expire at 1 p.m.
But the Buffalo area shouldn’t expect another beautiful fall day until midweek, as lower temperatures will accompany the diminishing winds. The latest forecast cites chances of rain and snow showers today, tonight and into Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday, sunshine is supposed to return, but the thermometer is forecast to stay stuck in the 30s. With winds continuing to diminish, it won’t feel quite as chilly. Wednesday, however, should be a lot better, with more sunshine, calm breezes and highs in the 40s.
Unseasonably warm temperatures preceded the storm. Sunday afternoon saw an official high of 63 at the Buffalo airport, just six degrees short of the record 69 set in 1954.