Our brief "fling with spring" has come to a grinding halt, with downed trees, strong winds and power outages across the region.
Early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service already recorded a 60 mph wind gust; with winds frequently well over 50 mph.
Across the region there were several reports of downed trees and wires, with over 3,000 customers wthout power . The West Valley School district cancelled classes due to a power outage.
"We are trying to stay anchored to the ground this morning," Says Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Capt. Robert Buchhardt, who says it is snowing sideways, and early rains made for loose soil and several downed trees.
All Cattaraugus County roads were open as of 8am, but Buchhardt says it is "snowing sideways" in some spots and caution is required.
"In the Southern Tier here, we can deal with the snow. We have equipment to move it, we're a pretty hearty bunch. But when start having these 50 mile an hour and 60 mile an hour wind gusts, that really takes a toll on the terrain down here, where it starts taking down the tree limbs and they always seem to fall on the power lines. This is not a time of year when you want to be without power'
-- Capt. Robert Bucchardt, Catt. Co. Sheriff's Dept
Major roads are open. Power outages are widespread. West Valley Schools are closed. The high winds have collapsed a barn on Lindberg Road north of Ellicottville, off Route 219.
Capt. Robert Bucchardt, Catt. Co Sheriff's Dept
Julius Leone, Chautauqua Co. EMS
There was a dramatic change in the weather overnight, with a cold front blowing in during the midnight hour.
The temps plunged 11 degrees in one hour; going from 51 degrees at midnight to 40 degrees at 1 am. In all the mercury dropped 19 degrees in 32 hours, going from 56 at 11 pm Wednesday to 37 degrees at 2 am
COMPLETE WEATHER COVERAGE Read the Advisories & Warnings
High Wind Warning until 4 pm: Early morning wind gusts have hit 60MPH and will increase even further between 9am and 12 noon Thursday. READ THE FULL ADVISORY HERE
BEGINNING at 10 AM: LAKE EFFECT SNOW WARNING for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Wyoming and Southern Erie Counties (south of Orchard Park and East Aurora) Significant snows from this afternoon, through tonight and into tomorrow. READ THE FULL ADVISORY HERE