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Sandy spares WNY despite officials preparing for the worst

BY: Kori Sciandra | October 31, 2012

NORTH TONAWANDA - Although Hurricane Sandy caused a significant amount of damage to parts of the East Coast, including New York City and New Jersey, the wrath of the hurricane seems to have missed the mark on Western New York.

As city officials headed out Tuesday morning to survey the amount of damages in the area leftover from the Superstorm, many were surprised to see a bright and sunny day.

North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt had met with department heads Fire Chief John Lapham, Superintendent of the DPW Brad Rowles; Police Chief Randy Szukala; and even City Engineer Dale Marshall to prepare city workers for the worst possible outcome Sandy’s aftermath. He was also in contact with National Grid throughout evening Monday and into the early morning hours Tuesday. However, preparations for flooding and extensive damage soon turned to a concern of high wind gusts and power outages.

“It became apparent that the focus needed to be put less of the possibility of flooding and more on the high winds ad power outages,” said Ortt.

According to National Grid there were approximately 700 people in Niagara County without power Monday night.

Ortt and Chief Szukala assessed the damages togther Tuesday morning, during which they observed debris on the grounds, minor pounding in front and backyards of residents homes and only two signals out of service.

“The DPW was out clearing debris and leaves from the sewers, but we always expect that at this time of year,” said Ortt. “They [The National Weather Service] were projecting 2 to 4 inches of rain and that could have been bad. But, it was reduced to an expected 1 to 2 inches of rain. The good thing is that we had such a dry summer, so the creeks soaked up a lot of the rain because they were so dry.”

Although Ortt was prepared to declare a state of emergency in the city, the conditions were not that sever.

Town of Tonawanda Police Chief Anthony Palombo issued a storm update to residents early Tuesday morning indicating that the Town of Tonawanda Emergency Operations Center would close at noon Tuesday, due to improving weather conditions.

Although a few people in WNY did experience flooding in their basements, leaking roofs, high wind gusts and falling tree limbs, Hurricane Sandy spared many homes and lives here in WNY.

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