Rude Welcome

BUSTI – The barrage of stormy weather that has tormented local residents in the past few days may be over for the time being.

On Wednesday, torrential rain and winds uprooted two aged trees on a Busti property, leaving one crashed and splintered on the side of a home.

Homeowners Gary and Cathy Melquist, who were out of town during the storm, returned to the 1974 Shadyside Ave. residence to discover their yard in tatters and their dog visibly shaken up inside.

“It’s unbelievable what weather can do,” Cathy Melquist said. “We were blessed though … it could have been much worse.”

According to Jim Mitchell, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Buffalo office, morning showers should gradually dissipate today into a stretch of dryer conditions.

“As the cold front moves through, it will get dry, and temperatures will be a lot cooler than what they have been,” said Mitchell, forecasting temperatures in the 50s and 60s throughout the weekend. “Thursday night (was) the worst of it.”

Indeed, Cattaraugus County was forced to declare a State of Emergency on Thursday after thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and the threat of floods scattered the forecast.

The past few days have been particularly severe for areas like Gowanda and Randolph, where residents experienced washed out driveways, flooded basements and downed trees. Silver Creek in Chautauqua County has also been badly affected.

The American Red Cross set up shelters Tuesday for residents affected by flooding in Silver Creek and Gowanda. Flooding assistance was also provided to affected families in Randolph.

This weekend, Red Cross volunteers will be distributing cleanup kits, with mops, buckets and bleach, to help people tend to their damaged homes.

The cleanup kits will be available at the Gowanda Fire Hall, located at 27 E. Main Street #3, on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also, at the Randolph Fire Hall, located at 40 Main St., on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As residents deal with the storm’s aftermath, they can – at least – take some comfort in the brighter forecast expected.

“There may be a few residual showers left around, but the overall trend is that (the stormy weather) will be clearing out,” Mitchell said. “We should start to see some sunny skies, mid-60s on Sunday, upper 60s by Monday.”