MAYVILLE – Local officials, in the face of a high winds warning for this Sunday, issued by the National Weather Service, are asking residents to use caution and be prepared for possible power outages and other emergencies.
The cautions were announced by the Chautauqua County Executive’s Office, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services.
The High Wind Warning is in effect from 7 a.m., Sunday, to 10 a.m., Monday, with wind gusts possibly surging to 75 mph. These strong winds could result in downed trees and power lines, widespread power outages, property damage, and difficult driving conditions.
“Our office is preparing for these high winds by notifying agencies of this predicted storm,” said John Griffith, Director of the Office of Emergency Services. “We will be monitoring this county-wide event throughout the weekend and are prepared to react and respond as needed.”
“As a result of these high winds, utility companies and emergency officials are anticipating there will be widespread power outages that could last for several days in some areas,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. “We are urging residents to use extreme caution during this storm and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their family and their property.”
Residents are encouraged to prepare for this storm by: securing or bringing in any loose items that are outdoors that could be blown away by the wind; keeping all cell phones and laptops charged; having a radio and extra batteries handy to listen for directions from local officials and keeping extra cash on hand and vehicle gas tanks at least three-quarters full as during extended power outages, ATMs, credit card machines and gas pumps will not work.
If an outage occurs, residents can reduce the risk of fire by using flashlights in the dark and not candles. Appliances, equipment or electronics that were in use when the power goes out should be turned off and disconnected. This will prevent damage to the equipment, which could occur if there is a surge or spike when the power comes back on. Individuals should also leave one light turned on so they will know when the power comes back on.
Individuals who are using a generator should ensure that the device is kept outdoors and in a well ventilated area. It should always be kept away from doors, windows and vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from coming indoors.
“Residents are also encouraged to eliminate any unnecessary travel during an outage,” said Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone. “During an outage, traffic lights could be out, electrical power lines could be down, and roads may be congested. We ask that residents help us better respond to emergencies and prevent additional accidents by reducing unnecessary travel and if you must travel, please use caution.”
If individuals see downed electrical power lines, they should not touch them, keep their family and pets away from them, and report the downed lines to their utility companies.
National Grid customers can report power outages or downed wires by calling 1-800-867-5222. If you have life-sustaining equipment in your home, call 1-800-642-4272. Customers can also view the Outage Map online at www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Business/Storms-Outages/Outage-Map . This map shows outages in their area, if a crew has already been assigned to the area, and estimated restoration times.
New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) customers can report electrical outages by calling 1-800-572-1131. Customers can also view the Outage Map online at outagemap.nyseg.com .
Once power is restored, individuals should check their refrigerator and freezer thermometers before using any foods. If a fridge is still at or below 40 °F for only two hours or less, it should be safe to eat. Frozen food that still has ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below can be safely refrozen or cooked.