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Storm causes local outages

October 30, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

Hurricane Sandy knocked down trees and left thousands of people without power overnight in local counties, but the storm caused little flooding.

Some authorities today said the storm didn't turn out to be nearly as bad in Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties as some originally feared.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella this morning didn't have an exact figure of those without power during the height of the storm.

Article Photos

Above, trees are on vehicles and a house owned by Gary Gifford at 2289 Route 10 in Caroga this morning.
The Leader-Herald/ Bill Trojan

"For the whole Capital Region, it was about 20,000 customers," Stella said. "Right now, we're trying to do a damage assessment. We hope to get the vast majority of our customers back by the day's end."

In contrast, he said about 156,000 people in the region were without power last year during Tropical Storm Irene.

Stella said National Grid's expectation was that Hurricane Sandy would be a "major event," and the utility had 2,000 employees mobilized for upstate New York. Since upstate was somewhat "spared," he said some crews were shifted to other areas of New England.

The major culprit was wind taking down power lines, Stella said.

Late this morning, National Grid's website reported 2,700 Fulton County residents were still without power, including 216 in Gloversville and 136 in Caroga Lake.

Another 1,194 National Grid customers in Montgomery County were without power, and another 632 Hamilton County residents had no power.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said today the "worst" of the storm was only a few wires and trees down in parts of the county.

"I think we were lucky we were on the fringes of the wind," he said.

Among the damage in Fulton County, wires were reported down in the road off Route 29 in the western part of Fulton County. Trees fell on vehicles and a house owned by Gary Gifford on Route 10 in Caroga. Marilyn Salvione of Priddle Point Road in Mayfield reported the wind blew down a neighbor's storage shed, which toppled wires that remained in the road this morning.

Gloversville Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said today the effect of the storm wasn't major in her city.

"To be honest, it was relatively mild," she said. "It didn't appear to be much different than things we have dealt with."

The chief said there was an initial "flurry of activity" for city firefighters early Monday night with wires down and branches. No injuries were reported. There were no issues with water in basements. she said. She said part of West Fulton Street had to barricaded for a while because of roofing materials coming down from a building.

Whitman-Putnam said her department also helped Gloversville police Monday night in barricading the sidewalk area in front of an old former glove factory at 51 E. Fulton St., where roofing materials were hanging down.

In Montgomery County, this storm didn't have the same effect Tropical Storm Irene had on the county in 2011.

"I believe we fared the storm pretty well," Montgomery County Interim Emergency Management Director Rick Sager said today.

Sager said felled trees blocked some roads from "end to end" in the county, and about 2,000 were left without power, but the Mohawk River wasn't a problem this time, he said.

"There was absolutely nothing as far as flooding," Sager said. "By my assessment, we had a half-inch of rain."

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Department offered a similar report.

"It was really just a whole lot of trees and wires down," said Lt. Burt Wilson. "Deputies blocked roads in some areas. We were really quite lucky."

Wilson said no motorists were ticketed in Montgomery County as a result of an edict to stay off the roads after the county declared a state of emergency.

The county lifted the state of emergency this morning, but all schools in Montgomery County were closed today as part of the state of emergency.

As of this morning, there were no reports of anyone using emergency shelters that were set up at Fonda-Fultonville Central School, Fort Plain High School and the R.J. McNulty Academy in Amsterdam.

George Maglaras, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said rainfall varied as much as tow-tenths of an inch in Gloversville and three-tenths of an inch in Amsterdam to 2.2 inches in Fonda.

"There was a wide variation, depending on the location," Maglaras said.

Wind was more stable, with the lower elevations having a lower wind speed, he said.

He said 40 mph winds were reported in the town of Canajoharie. He said other parts of the region may have seen stronger winds.

The next several days are expected to be predominantly breezy with rain showers, he said.

Maglaras said Sandy has moved on to western Pennsylvania, where it will spin for several days before moving north into Canada.

"In general, there will be no damaging winds from this point on," Maglaras said this morning.

In Fulton County, Oppenheim Ephratah Central School was delayed by two hours this morning, according to Superintendent Dan M. Russom. Dolgeville Central School was delayed by one hour.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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