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High Winds, Locally Heavy Rain Lash Western New England

UPDATED 7:45 PM EDT, October 15, 2011

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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A storm system spinning across western Quebec will continue to funnel potentially damaging wind gusts into western and Upstate New York and the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania tonight into Sunday. While it will continue to shrink the peak fall colors, the chilly wind blowing over the Great Lakes will squeeze out narrow bands of intense rain.

A powerful early-autumn system will continue to sit and spin across the eastern Canadian Provinces this weekend, ejecting streaks of upper-level energy around its western periphery into the Great Lakes and New England. Even more impressive, the howling westerly winds circulating atop the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes will squeeze out intense but narrow bands of locally heavy rainfall downwind of Lake Ontario and Erie into tonight.

While the bands of rain will gradually drift northward away from western New York tonight, residents will still have to contend with fierce wind gusts. High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories stretch from the Allegheny Mountains over western Pennsylvania to Upstate New York. Buffalo and Watertown, N.Y., and Bradford, Pa., are included in these wind-related advisories.

WeatherBug Live Tracking Stations have clocked gusts higher than 50 mph across the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes today. Erie, Pa., measured a gust of 49 mph earlier this afternoon, while Watertown, N.Y., recorded a gust of 46 mph this evening. McHenry, Md., clocked a gust to 54 mph, while Jefferson Hills, Pa., saw the anemometer spike at 48 mph. Even though the storm is located more than 600 miles north western New York's Great Lakes, it will continue to produce sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph will be common, especially along the unimpeded flat surfaces downwind of Lake Ontario and Erie into Sunday.

The shear strength of these winds will be enough to make driving difficult, especially for high profile and light-weight vehicles. Downed tree limbs and powerlines could create temporary power outages, while blowing about lawn ornaments and Halloween decorations that aren`t tied down. Unfortunately, these winds will shrink the plethora of exuberant fall foliage stretching from western and upstate New York to the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania.

As if the wind weren`t enough, bands of heavy rain have already squeezed out more than an inch across southwestern New York. With the most intense band lifting northward to Lake Ontario, an additional quarter inch of rain will accumulate by the time it winds down for cities such as Watertown and Fulton, N.Y. tonight

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