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Live Blog: Sandy's Impact on Western New York

7:09 p.m.: Reports of power outages are already filtering in around WNY from utility companies as Sandy's winds and rain move into the region. National Grid reports that there are 2,102 customers out in Cattaraugus County followed by 926 in Allegany County, 298 in Chautauqua Co., 169 in Erie County and 47 in Orleans Co. NYSEG has 263 customers in the dark in Erie Co., 102 in Cattaraugus Co. and 421 in Allegany Co.

7:32 p.m.: Cattaraugus County dispatchers tell the News there are trees reported down in Delevan and Farmville that could be responsible for scattered power outages. But, "they've seen it worse" in other storms. Chautauqua Co. officials said there are power line problems in Busti and near Jamestown. Allegany Co. officials said there are small outages near Willing with trees on the ground near Alma, Wellsville, Scio and Hume.

7:35 p.m.: Meanwhile, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has announced that his office is "asking for no unnecessary travel tonight & thru late night hours. Situation may change quickly, so stay current."

7:38 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued an Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for ALLEGANY COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...CATTARAUGUS COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...ERIE COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...
  GENESEE COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...NIAGARA COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...
  ORLEANS COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...WYOMING COUNTY IN WESTERN NEW YORK...

7:44 p.m.: A FLOOD WARNING will remain in effect for the south shore of Lake Ontario including local counties of Niagara and Orleans until 8 a.m. Tuesday. The strong north to northeast winds associated with the storm are expected to "produce very high waves and rising water" along the lake shore, the NWS reported. Flooding is most likely in bays and inlets, the weather service said, adding that rising water levels in harbors "may break boats from their moorings."

 7:47 p.m.: The Niagara County Sheriff's Office reported they had to remove someone who was apparently surfing near the Wilson Pier on Lake Ontario about 5:45 p.m. today. Suffice to say, that's very dangerous and should not be undertaken -- the surfing, that is.

7:50 p.m.: Hurricane Sandy has forced Laura Kaeppler, Miss America 2012, to cancel her scheduled visit to Buffalo Tuesday. Kaeppler was to participate in events at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

7:54 p.m.: Mike Pukajlo of the National Weather Service tells me that the forecast models over the last several days have been pretty much on target with Sandy and the cold front that wrapped around it, resulting in the "Superstorm." "We probably are not going to get quite as much rain as earlier estimates of a couple days ago," Pukajlo said. He said, at present, wind gusts across WNY are "closing in on 50 mph." The highest winds are expected to blow through between 10 p.m. and 2 p.m., Pukajlo said.

8:00 p.m.: There are 343 separate outages statewide affecting 21,807 customers, National Grid reports. Of those, 1,988 are in Cattaraugus County, 120 in Erie Co., 421 in Chautauqua Co., 926 in Allegany County. Many of the others are in central and eastern New York State.

9:05 p.m.: Utility crews seem to be making good progress keeping the lights on. Here are some updated totals from NYSEG: Erie, 141 customers with power out; Wyoming Co., 7; Chautauqua, 1 and Allegany County, serveral hundred. National Grid: Cattaraugus, 1,987; Allegany, 968; Chautauqua, 422; Erie, 26 and Niagara, 133.

9:31 p.m.: Just talked with Steve Brady from National Grid who says crews are out in the field fighting to restore power to those areas who have lost it. As the winds pick up and the hours draw later, it's likely, he said, that some of the jobs will wait until morning. "We almost have to for safety's sake for the crews," he said, explaining that crews don't put buckets in the air when the wind is blowing above 30 mph. "In the wind and the dark, it's just a recipe for an accident to happen."

9:34 p.m.: Brady also pointed out that crews from 31 states -- including the West Coast -- have responded to assist National Grid with outages in New York and New England. Two Canadian provinces are also helping out, he said. "We actually started to go into 'storm mode' 5-6 days ago," said Brady. "If there's a positive to a hurricane, they rarely surprise you."

9:50 p.m.: Just off the phone with Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour who indicates there are no evacuations underway anywhere in Niagara County. Called today's events "pretty status quo so far." No injuries reported or serious property damage. Said the county started preparing for the storm late last week. Lake Ontario was pretty intense early with choppy waves, sheriff said.

10:34 p.m.: Some more Local Storm Reports in from the NWS: Tree limbs down in Cold Spring, Catt. Co; tree down on Route 242 in Machias, Catt. Co.; Power Lines down on Rieter Road, East Aurora; tree felled on Hopkins Road, Amherst; trees down throughout Allegany County in the communities of Allentown, Alma, Wellsville, Whitesville, Scio, Willing and Randolph; a tree down at Richmond and West Ferry, downtown Buffalo; tree down in Ripley and Maple Springs, Chau. Co.

10:38 p.m.: Now 14 percent of all NYSEG customers in Wyoming County are out of power, the utility reports. 1,889 customers in all.

11:51 p.m.: A peak wind gust of 43 mph was reported about 10 p.m. at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. There was a gust of 53 mph reported in Youngstown Monday night and 59 mph at the Dunkirk lighthouse about 11 p.m.

11:57 p.m.: News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro signing off. Read all about Sandy in Tuesday's pages of The Buffalo News and at buffalonews.com.

Stay safe tonight.


- T.J. Pignataro

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