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March 15, 2017 - 10:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.


Here's a different take on a snowstorm picture. Matthew Bailey and Heather Lewis got engaged recently but hadn't yet gotten their engagement portraits taken, so today, in the midst of a snowstorm on Tracy Avenue, they thought it would be the perfect time to have their official engagement pictures taken. They will be married May 12. Bailey was recently hired as a corrections officer in the Genesee County Jail.

Photo submitted by Melissa Barone.

March 15, 2017 - 7:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Centennial Park, news, weather.


Lilah Guarino, 7, (top photo) and Quintin Hoca, 4, (below) couldn't wait to get to Centennial Park today to sled in the snow. The sun came out late this afternoon and they were there. It's the first time this winter there has really been enough snow for good sledding. Lilah's father said she's been bugging him all winter about sledding so she was eager to hit the slopes today.



March 15, 2017 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.


There's plenty of snow on the ground, it's cold and a winter storm warning remains in effect until 8 p.m., but the county's travel advisory has been lifted and conditions aren't too bad for a snowy, winter day.

Photo: 500 block of East Main Street, Batavia.

March 14, 2017 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

NOTE: The travel advisory has been lifted.

The Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory for Genesee County. Current and forecasted weather conditions consisting of steady and strong winds have caused whiteout conditions. These conditions are expected to continue for 24 hours. Motorists are strongly encouraged to avoid any unnecessary travel.

Cancellations and closures for Wednesday:

  • Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools
  • Batavia City Schools
  • County Court
  • City Court
  • The Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties
  • The Worship Service for today at Batavia First United Methodist Church is canceled
  • Byron-Bergen Central Schools
  • Elba Central Schools
  • GCC
  • Le Roy Central Schools
  • Notre Dame
  • Pavilion Central Schools
  • Alexander Central Schools
  • Pembroke Central Schools
  • St. Joe's
  • Classic Optical
  • Blue Pearl Yoga
  • St. Paul Lutheran Church -- Lenten Dinner & Worship Services
  • Elba Town Court
  • Bergen Town Court
  • Fastec Automotive
  • Mane Attraction Salon & Spa
  • Oliver's Candies - Closing at 4 p.m.

Send notifications to [email protected]

March 14, 2017 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.


Crews were out and working in Batavia this morning dealing with the few inches of snow that fell overnight and this morning.

The winter storm warning remains in effect through 8 p.m. tomorrow with a prediction of steady snowfall and a storm total in the area of about 18 inches.




March 13, 2017 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a statewide state of emergency starting at midnight.

We've received notifications of the following closing and cancellations:

  • Batavia City Schools
  • Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools
  • Pembroke Central Schools
  • Alexander Central School
  • Byron-Bergen Central School
  • Elba Central School
  • GCC, all locations
  • Le Roy Central School
  • Pavilion Central School
  • St. Joseph's
  • Notre Dame
  • Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties
  • Pembroke Town Court
  • Elba Fire Bingo canceled tonight
  • Art Ah la Carte is closed
  • 4-H Green Thumbs Club meeting
  • Alabama Town Court
  • Blue Pearl Yoga
  • Oliver's Candies - Closing at 5 p.m.

Send closings to [email protected]

March 13, 2017 - 7:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.


There are going to be some unique features to the winter storm predicted to hit our county this evening and local officials are both preparing for unusual conditions and warning residents to prepare themselves.

First, there is the duration of the storm -- more than 48 hours of steady snowfall, about four inches every two hours. Second, there is the direction of the wind, coming from the north at the start of the storm rather than the usual west-southwest winds.

There is a winter storm watch in effect from tonight through 8 p.m. Wednesday with anticipated stiff winds and storm totals for snowfall of up to 20 inches in some parts of the county.

The winds won't be strong, but blowing in from the north changes the dynamic of the storm.

'It's going to be an almost three-day storm," said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. "I think highway crews are going to be able to keep up with it easily enough. The wind may cause a problem with visibility. Just the sheer temperatures will be difficult to deal with itself."

Yaeger said people need to be prepared for the idea that the storm will last for a while and travel conditions will naturally slow down emergency responses if there is a problem.

"The mantra that we always carry with emergency services is to be ready for 72 hours," Yaeger said. "Obviously, the past week proved that everyone needs to be prepared."

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said he's already reminded his crews that the wind is going to be coming from the north.

"The lake effect will enhance the snowfall rates for the nor'easter, but the odd thing is for the highway department is it affects roads different for us than we’re used to," Hens said. "Normally, we get west to southwest winds, so the north to south roads, you get a lot of blowing and drifting. We’ve had it before, so the guys are used to it, but it is a little bit different. You’ll  have the east and west roads that are getting the whiteouts and the drifting."

Hens noted that snow fences along roadways are set up on north-south roads, not east-west, so blowing and drifting snow could be worse than a typical storm.

"Take a little time to think about where you’re going and realize that you’re going to get whiteouts on roads you don’t normally get whiteouts on," Hens said.

Sheriff William Sheron said drivers need to allow themselves enough time to get where they're going.

"Be prepared for slippery roads and whiteout conditions," Sheron said. "Reduce speeds and allow extra stopping distance."

Driver safety was also on the mind of Yaeger and Hens.

"If you don’t  have to drive, delay that trip, delay that shopping trip if you can," Yaeger said. "Stay off the roads. Stay home. Stay safe. Stay warm."

It's been a light winter, Hens noted, so there hasn't been much demand on drivers this year to practice their snow-and-ice driving skills.

"People have probably gotten a little bit lazy in terms of winter driving skills, so just a reminder to give yourself extra time, give yourself a lot of room, respect the snowplows, try not to get up behind them too close and pass them," Hens said.

It's hard to say if we'll have power outages. The winds will not be that strong, but they are coming just days after a heavy windstorm that may have weakened some root systems or moorings for utility pools, but more importantly, the winds are coming from the north and tree root systems are set up to handle west-southwest winds.

Yaeger expressed a little concern, but Hens said he isn't anticipating an issue unless the winds come on stronger than expected.

"I think most of the trees are pretty good at handling 30 to 35 mph winds," Hens said. "It’s just if we get a repeat of what we had last Wednesdayy and Thursday, it will be a whole other story."

In anticipation of higher call volume, there are already extra dispatchers scheduled for the storm period, Sheron said. Extra patrols will be called in if needed.

The prolonged storm won't be too much of a stress on his road crews, Hens said, but it might be harder on town highway departments.

"We have enough people that we can run two shifts of drivers, but the towns (have) three- to four-men departments, so they run as long as they can run," Hens said. "They’ve got to take a break and sleep at some point. It affects them more when you get a long duration storm. It beats them up pretty good, but they fight through it and make it work most of the time."

Yeager said he's confident all of the men and women trained to handle emergencies in the county are ready for what's coming. They proved that Wednesday and Thursday, he said.

"Our hats from our office go off to those folks, the guys and girls of all the emergency services, from the dispatchers to law enforcement out there working hand-in-hand, from the career guys to the volunteers," Yaeger said. "They put their foot forward and I don’t think there was any time that we were worried that something wasn’t going to be addressed, whether it be a fire, to the lines down and arcing, to motor-vehicle accidents. They came out and did their jobs."

March 13, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.

Press release:

The Yard Waste Station on Law Street will be closed this week, Tuesday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 15th due to the forecasted snow event. We plan to resume operations on Thursday, March 16th with regular hours (noon-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for the season. If there are any questions or concerns about this matter, contact the Bureau of Maintenance at (585) 345-6400, option 1.

March 13, 2017 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, news.


Frank Capuano sent in this picture of this morning's sky over Batavia.

March 12, 2017 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

A winter storm warning is in effect from 8 p.m. Monday to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

During the two-day period, as much as 12 inches of snow is possible in some areas.

Winds from the north at 15 to 25 mph are expected, with gusts up to 35 mph.

This will create blowing and driving snow conditions making traffic difficult and create periods of very low visibility.

March 12, 2017 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Rachel Doktor created this short documentary video about Wednesday's windstorm.

March 11, 2017 - 6:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

There are only about 11 power outages left in Genesee County, the lingering effect of Wednesday's windstorm, and all of those affect fewer than five customers each.

Three of them are in the city.

Here's a press release from National Grid (sent out at 3 p.m.):

National Grid crews have restored power to more than 174,000, or 97 percent of the nearly 180,000 Upstate New York customers who lost electricity after a damaging windstorm hit the region on Wednesday. The company expects the vast majority of the remaining 4,800 customers still without service (as of 3 p.m.) to be restored by late this evening, and continues to commit extensive resources until the last outage is repaired.

A field force of more than 1,100 has been at work around the clock in Western New York, which was the most severely impacted portion of the company’s Upstate service area. While services have been restored in most areas, intensive work continues in the particularly hard hit Genesee region, including Genesee, Orleans, Monroe and Wyoming counties.

Wind gusts in some areas exceeding 70 mph did extensive damage to trees and utility equipment. National Grid has had to replace more than 300 broken poles and 80 damaged transformers, including more than 200 poles in the Genesee region alone. Miles of distribution circuits have been repaired or replaced, along with service lines to individual homes and businesses.

“We deeply appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we continue to work around the clock to restore service as quickly and safely as possible,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid’s New York vice president.

“This was an extremely damaging storm and we are grateful that our Western New York crews were assisted by their Upstate counterparts, as well as National Grid crews from New England and from other utilities in New York and Canada. We also are grateful for the many police, fire, public works, municipal officials, Red Cross workers and other volunteers who did so much to support our customers and our communities.”

Littlejohn also recognized the support and generosity of the company’s Upstate New York customers during this hardship.

“Reports from the field poured in of customers offering thanks, coffee, gratitude and a ‘thumbs up’ as power was restored,” she said. “No one likes to be without electricity – even for a little while -- yet the spirit of cooperation and understanding demonstrated by our customers has been remarkable."

Once restoration is completed, National Grid crews will remain in the field for the next few days as storm cleanup continues. In some areas, customers will continue to see significant utility activity as any temporary repairs are made permanent. National Grid urges drivers to use extreme caution as they approach work areas, to ensure the safety of utility and other storm-response personnel.

Additionally, customers are reminded to avoid downed wires. All wires should be considered live and should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222.

While National Grid expects power to be restored to all impacted circuits tonight, there may be instances of damage to individual customer’s electricity service. Any customer who remains without power should call National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 for assistance.

March 11, 2017 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.


There are still nearly 1,000 National Grid customers in Genesee County without power as crews from throughout the Northeast have come to WNY to help the utility recover from Wednesday's windstorm.

There are still more than a dozen outages in the city affecting 400 customers.

Crews are on Central Avenue, above, but there is as yet no ETA for power restoration on that street. There's also no estimate yet for Morton Avenue and Redfield Parkway around Richmond Avenue as well as other city outages.

Several of the outages around the county have restoration time frames of this afternoon, but not all of them.

A National Grid supervisor said this morning that there are 300 workers in our area today. A firefighter says city fire has been notified that of the remaining customers without power today, about 90 percent of them should have power restored by midnight.

There is bottled water and dry ice available at the fire headquarters on Evans Street until 5 p.m.

There were more than 800 outages caused by the storm affecting nearly 100,000 National Grid customers in WNY.

There are currently 245 outages reported within National Grid's service area in WNY affecting 6,870 customers.

March 10, 2017 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Grid, weather, news.

Press release:

 A western New York field force of nearly 1,200 workers made significant progress over the last 24 hours and has restored power to more than 88 percent of the 171,000 upstate New York homes and businesses impacted by Wednesday’s damaging wind storm. Crews have been focused on the time-consuming, labor-intensive work of removing downed trees and thousands of tree limbs, repairing substations, replacing hundreds of broken poles and damaged transformers, and replacing miles of feeder lines and circuits. 

While the storm affected many areas of upstate, the most severe damage and highest wind speeds – in excess of 70 mph – were recorded in western New York. About 130,000 National Grid customers in that region were impacted and, by this afternoon, more than 110,000 have been restored. Today, the company’s full contingent of crews remains focused on restoring power to approximately 19,000 customers still out, especially in the areas where the damage was most severe, including portions of Monroe, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. 

National Grid anticipates restoring power to 90 percent of upstate New York customers affected by late tonight. Restoration in a few isolated locations and for some individual customers in the hardest-hit areas likely will continue into late Saturday evening because of the severity of the damage. Specific local restoration times, updated every 15 minutes, are available on the Outage Central page of National Grid’s website. 

“Our crews have made significant progress last night and through today and we have received outstanding support from state, county and local first-responders and emergency coordinators,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid’s New York vice president. “However there is challenging work ahead and our job is not done until we have connected every customer.” 

Littlejohn noted that the equipment damage, particularly in rural areas, is severe and progress will be slow and steady. “The final hours of our restoration process are always the most labor and time intensive,” she said. “The number of customers restored by each repair job typically is smaller because the remaining damage affects very small pockets of customers, sometimes even a single customer.” 

National Grid is offering customers dry ice and bottled water at the following locations through 5 p.m. today. 

Wrights Corners Fire Company 

4043 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 

City of Batavia Fire Department 

18 Evans Street, Batavia, NY 

Village Fire Station 

80 Owens Rd., Brockport, NY 

The company will continue dry ice and bottled water distribution again tomorrow from noon until 4 p.m. at the Batavia and Brockport locations only. 

Company Advises Caution 

The company also reminds customers to stay safe as they continue to recover from the storm’s damage. “Given the storm’s impact, there may be unsafe conditions in the region,” Littlejohn said. “We’re asking customers to remain aware of potential safety hazards such as damaged trees, particularly broken limbs that haven’t yet fallen to the ground. We also ask that drivers use extreme caution as they approach work areas, to ensure the safety of utility and other storm-response personnel who have been in the field around the clock restoring service.” 

The company also urges the public to exercise safety around electricity wires and other equipment. Downed lines should be immediately reported to your local emergency response organization or by calling National Grid at 1-800-867-5222

Additionally, if you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Regardless of ventilation, never operate a generator indoors. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors. 

For detailed information on post-storm safety, visit the Outage Central section at

When a power outage occurs in a neighborhood, it may in fact affect thousands of customers. How does National Grid restore service? 

National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event. National Grid crews perform damage surveys as soon as possible during and after the weather-related incidents following established safety guidelines. Credible and consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort by in-person updates between National Grid personnel and state and local officials, regular media updates, and updates to Outage Central. 

As damage assessments are underway, our crews clear away hazards such as live, downed lines. The clean-up of storm-damaged trees and branches removed from our electric facilities remains the responsibility of the customer or property owner, whether private or municipal. 

Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power from generating plants. Recovery work at local 

substations is also a high priority, because power flows from transmission lines through substations on its way to you. 

Circuits and transformers in neighborhoods and the wires that connect them to your home come next – starting with areas that involve the most customers. While waiting for your power to return, please know that we’re doing everything we can to restore electric service as quickly as possible. 

Here with you, here for you 

National Grid offers several ways to stay informed and safe – before, during and after a storm: 

 For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit the Outage Central section of our website, Customers who create an online profile on our website can also sign up for email alerts. 

 To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743). 

 Online and text alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request. 

 Other ways to stay in touch: 

- Visit our website: 

- Follow us on Twitter at 

- Friend us on Facebook 

Click here for a video on how National Grid restores power after a major storm. 

March 10, 2017 - 12:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, weather.


City crews were on Morton Avenue this morning as part of their rounds through the city to clean up downed trees and tree limbs.



March 10, 2017 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.


There is dry ice and water available at the fire hall on Evans Street.

The National Grid workers handing out the dry ice advise that you should bring a cooler with you. If you don't have a cooler, bring blankets to wrap the ice in. If you don't have a cooler, you need to be prepared to drive home with your windows open because of the CO2 the dry ice emits. When you get the block, you need good winter gloves to handle the ice.

The crew was also told they should expect to be back at the fire hall tomorrow, which sounds like a sign that National Grid expects a lot of people to still be without power through tonight.

March 10, 2017 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.


There are still nearly 100 locations in Genesee County with reported power outages affecting thousands of National Grid customers, but several outages should be repaired by this afternoon, including much of Stafford and Bethany and the west side of the Town of Batavia.

National Grid reports that power has been restored to the Village of Le Roy, though a couple of small outages remain in the area of the village.

The major outages in the City of Batavia, including Morton and Central avenues, and State Street as of yet have not ETA for repair.

There are still 615 outages reported in National Grid's service area in WNY, leaving 26,790 customers without power. Immediately after Wednesday's windstorm, there were nearly 100,000 customers without power.

To help residents without power, National Grid is supplying bottled water by the case and dry ice at City Fire on Evans Street. Dry ice was just delivered to the station, twice the amount delivered yesterday, which was all scooped by within an hour.

The dry ice at city station is available now (as of 10:50 a.m.)

Batavia High School's performance of "Hairspray" has been canceled for tonight. A 7:30 p.m. show has been added for Sunday.

Top photo: submitted by a reader. Bottom two photos, I took on State Street while out trying to find a National Grid repair crew working in the city (I didn't find one.)



March 9, 2017 - 10:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

Both Batavia City Schools and Le Roy Central Schools have announced they will be closed Friday due to weather-related issues.

March 9, 2017 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.


The Batavia VA, 222 Richmond Avenue, will open an emergency shelter for county residents for tonight starting at 5 p.m.

March 9, 2017 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, National Grid, batavia, news.


Dennis Schafer, with National Grid, carries a case of water for Carol Marriott, of Pembroke, to her car for her outside the City of Batavia Fire Hall this afternoon.

National Grid set up a station at the fire hall this afternoon to provide water and dry ice to residents. Schafer said the delivery of dry ice was late, but once it was there, they were out within an hour.

He said he expects a delivery of twice as much dry ice tomorrow. He hopes the dry ice is delivered by noon.

There's still plenty of water and National Grid will be at the station until 5 p.m.

For most of the county that is out of power, National Grid doesn't expect power to be restored before 10 p.m. tomorrow.



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