More than 300,000 await power and flood watches are posted following record Buffalo snowfall

Friday, October 13th 2006, 9:11 pm
By: News On 6

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A flood watch was posted Saturday as the region's record snowfall melted, and some 350,000 homes and businesses still had no electricity.

More than a day after nearly two feet of snow buried western New York, travel bans were lifted Saturday, the airport was open, stores reopened and the evening's Buffalo Sabres game was on.

However, National Grid still had more than 250,000 customers without power at noon Saturday and New York State Electric & Gas reported 104,000 customers still in the dark.

"This is going to be the worst (outage) we ever had in western New York," said National Grid spokesman Steve Brady.

Mike Burke, 52, had to go to a restaurant to warm up.

"I spent the night on the couch, dressed a little more heavily than normal -- a sweat shirt, street clothes, with a quilt," Burke said at Daisies restaurant in Lackawanna. "I was just happy that the temperature wasn't down below freezing."

Because temperatures were in the 40s, the snow was rapidly melting and the National Weather Service posted a flood watch for the area.

Buffalo's two snowiest October days on record claimed three lives, two in traffic accidents and one person killed by a falling tree limb while shoveling snow.

Health officials said hospitals had seen dozens of cases of people sickened by carbon monoxide produced by improperly vented stoves and generators.

Gov. George Pataki and members of the state's congressional delegation asked President Bush to declare a federal emergency in four western counties.