BUFFALO, N.Y. — Thousands of customers across Western New York are without power on Sunday, as a thunderstorm with powerful winds moved through the region.

As of 6:30pm, approximately 40,000 customers were in the dark across Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genessee and Niagara Counties.

Winds between 50-60 mph forced downed trees and power lines. Even a billboard fell on top of a Mobil gas station on Route 5 in Lackawanna.

By mid-afternoon, Lake Erie had risen three feet, with expectations that it would rise another three to five feet by Sunday night, according to 7 First Alert Meteorologist Andy Parker. By dinner time, the high water from Lake Erie caused flooding in area parking lots.

On social media, Buffalo Bills fans were expressing disappointment in the timing of the power outage, given its proximity to the start of the Bills game against the Arizona Cardinals.In West Seneca, downed power lines caused businesses to close. Rite Aid, near Center Road and Greymont, closed up with a handwritten sign on the door, saying “Power out. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

National Grid has increased staffing across the region, to more than 2,600 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers.

“We brought in contractors and electricity crews from all over the northeast and Canada just to prepare for this type of event,” said David Bertola, National Grid spokesman. “They’re ready, National Grid is ready, and they’re out there now.”