BUFFALO, N.Y. — This month of June in Western New York weather history, gusty winds on Lake Erie capsized boats, remnants of a hurricane brought devastating floods, and a tornado hit several local towns.
In 1977, severe storms moved in and brought half inch size hail, strong gusty winds and heavy rain for Niagara Falls. Also several large trees were uprooted and fell across parked cars, and also power lines were downed and roofs were damaged by falling tree limbs.
In 1986, several storms dropped 1.15 inches of rain at the Buffalo Airport, set a record for that date. The thunderstorms knocked out power to between 5,000 and 6,000 customers in Buffalo, and power outages were reported in the towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Elma, West Seneca, Hamburg, Orchard park, Alden and Marilla.
In 1998, severe storms moved through and a tornado hit Wyoming county with substantial damage to numerous structures and completely destroyed several others. The initial touchdown of the tornado was in Orangeville and went near the Village of Warsaw where it damaged two houses, then the tornado followed near the border of the Towns of Perry and Castile damaging several sheds and docks as it crossed Silver Lake. The final traces of the tornado were found in Castile.
In 1980, storms caused downed trees and power lines and heavy rain caused street flooding for some spots. Also a wind gust of 79 mph was recorded at the Buffalo Airport and golf ball sized hail was reported as well.
In 2007, storms downed trees and power lines including in Concord, Hamburg, Gerry, Westfield, Niagara Falls, LeRoy, Varysburg, Otto, Orchard Park, Bemus Point, Byron, Castile.
In 1991, storms over southern Erie and Chautauqua counties produced damaging wind gusts over 45 mph which downed trees and power lines in Evans and Angola, and also Jamestown. Large hail was reported in the town of Harmony and in Jamestown.
In 1986, severe thunderstorms brought a peak gust of 69 mph at the Buffalo Airport, and cut electricity to nearly 18,000 homes around Buffalo, and a house was struck by lightning and set fire on Dakota street there.
In 2008, Western New York experienced a rare widespread damaging hail event across southern Niagara, southern Orleans counties especially, larger hail of up to two inches in diameter. A storm formed over Grand Island and moved into the northern and eastern suburbs of Buffalo. The golf-ball sized hail damaged thousands of automobiles as well as windows, roofs and awnings on many homes. At the Amherst Middle School, the hail made 1200 to 1500 holes in the skylight roof, and property damage was significant, but the damage to area crops was devastating.
In 1970, storms brought power outages to Niagara and also drenching rains flooded streets in Lockport. Lightning also struck four homes and a church in Amherst but damage was light there.
In 1990, severe thunderstorms downed trees and power lines causing numerous power outages, and there were several reports of homes damaged by falling trees were received and state of emergency declared in Brownville as downed trees and power lines blocked the main streets. Two people were trapped in their cars when live wires fell onto the street. Specific reports of wind damage were received from Falconer, Elma, Lancaster, Wilson, Batavia, and Murray.
In 1908, heavy rain and a windstorm hit in Buffalo with winds of 56 mph and extreme gusts of 69 mph caused damage. Many valuable trees were blown down, streetcar traffic stopped by broken wires, or obstructing trunks of trees. A church being built on East Ferry street was blown down, and two boys who had sought refuge there were seriously injured by falling timbers.
In 1969, thunderstorms spawned tornadoes which ripped through sections of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties and the hardest hit were a factory in Jamestown and the towns of Gerry and Bemus Point.
In 1972, remnants of hurricane Agnes dropper nearly 4 inches of rain in a couple days with up to a foot or more over parts of the southern tier. Devastating flooding reached record levels in Allegany, and Cattaraugus counties and the dike system was exceeded in Salamanca. Property damage was in the hundreds of millions of dollars with 24 deaths in New York state.
In 1985, strong winds on Lake Erie gusting to 41 mph capsized several small vessels which caused four people to go into the water. One person drowned two teenage girls were stranded adrift a rubber raft for 16 hours about four miles west of Silver Creek before being rescued by the Coast Guard.
In 1989, several streams already swollen, flooded from heavy rains. Lockport, Albion and Arcade reported rainfall of 3.3, 3.0, and 2.9″. States of emergency were declared for the village of Arcade and Albion. In Arcade, trees were uprooted and moved 500 feet by the flood waters and waters ate away the roadbed of the Conrail line in the town of Dale. And in Genesee county, three bridges washed away. The Allegheny River crested about 3.5 feet above flood stage at Olean and Salamanca, and a bridge in Franklinville was washed out. In Portville, 50 persons had to be evacuated from their homes, and flooding closed portions of State Routes 219, 242, 16, and 98.
In 1994, severe storms brought damaging winds in Hamburg and East Aurora, and produced a weak tornado in Angola which mainly uprooted trees, one tree fell onto a house.
In 1997, strong storms, which developed along lake breezes from Lakes Erie and Ontario winds, downed trees and power lines in Niagara, Orleans, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, and created scattered power outages.
*The National Weather Service Buffalo Office keeps a log of local severe weather reports for Western New York.
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