Microburst Strike

LAKEWOOD – Some Lakewood residents who live near Chautauqua Lake along Terrace Avenue had to go to work on Labor Day thanks to Mother Nature.

A severe thunderstorm hit the Lakewood area around 1 p.m., knocking down trees and power lines and overturning docks and boats in Chautauqua Lake. The roadway on East Terrace Avenue was blocked from Shadyside Avenue to the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club as National Grid and tree removal service workers cleared fallen trees and repaired power lines. Traveling west, from Marvin Avenue to New York Avenue, four roadways were shutdown between Summit Street and Terrace Avenue to clear debris.

Kirk Apffel, National Weather Service in Buffalo meteorologist, said the first report of storms hitting the Jamestown and Lakewood area were around 1 p.m.

”There were reports of 1.75-inch pieces of hail, which is pretty large hail, at 1:07 p.m. in Jamestown,” he said. ”Our first report of trees down was at 12:50 p.m. in Lakewood.”

Apffel said there were no reported sightings of a tornado. He said the severe thunderstorms could be labeled as a microburst.

”A microburst can have winds around 60 miles per hour, and up to 80 and 100 miles per hour, which is the strength of a weak tornado,” he said. ”A microburst is a big burst of wind with heavy rain that pushes down. It is strong wind rushing toward the ground that can take down trees.”

Faith Sikorski, who lives at 52 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood, felt the full wrath of Mother Nature. Sikorski said she had just returned home from being out of town during the holiday weekend when she heard the storm hit the lakeside community.

”It started to rain, and then it started to hail. I saw the trees starting to sway, and then I heard a big boom,” Sikorski said about a tree hitting her home.

Ann Reading, Lakeview Avenue resident, said she was coming home from being out of town, and started to see the damage becoming more and more prevalent as they drove past the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club along Terrace Avenue.

”We saw nothing but trees down and storm damage. The road was blocked off. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. ”I went down to the (Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club) and saw the dock overturned. There were a lot of boats damaged. I saw a mast snapped off on a sail boat. One boat was overturned.”

One Lakewood resident who was walking his dogs along Owana Way said the high-wind storm produced sights he had never witnessed before.

”The hail was about a quarter of an inch thick,” he said. ”I couldn’t even see the road because it was covered with so much ice.”

Rebecca Robbins, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities communications coordinator, said the storm caused scattered power outages for about 3,500 residents on the west and north sides of Jamestown and in West Ellicott. She said crews worked on downed powerlines on Emory Drive, Newland Avenue and Hallock Street. The power was restored to the BPU coverage area around 7:45 p.m. Monday.

According to Patrick Stella, National Grid spokesman, as many as 4,300 customers in Lakewood and the surrounding areas were without power early Monday afternoon after what Stella called ”a pretty severe microburst storm.”