Storm causes power outages but limited damage in Fulton and Montgomery counties


Montgomery County Office Building off Broadway in Fonda on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

A storm this weekend caused power outages in Fulton and Montgomery counties, but there was little damage and no injuries were reported, according to authorities. 

“I’m thankful we got out of this with nobody getting hurt and no substantial damage,” said Rick Sager, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office.  

Fulton County saw about 6,000 power outages, while Montgomery County saw about 1,000 outages during the storm this weekend. By Monday afternoon, only a handful of outages remained in both counties, according to National Grid’s real-time tracker. 

Upstate New York felt the brunt of the storm Saturday night into Sunday morning, officials said. Sager said high winds toppled trees and knocked out power lines in Montgomery County, with outages fluctuating between a handful and about 100 at a time. But Montgomery County didn’t see any widespread outage at once, according to Sager. 

“It’s not like we had sustained winds that went from one end of the county to the other,” Sager said. “It wasn’t like we had one-third of the county out in one outage or anything.”

Sager said he hadn’t heard of any property damage in Montgomery County. 

Meanwhile, in Fulton County, Emergency Management Director Steven Santa Maria said there were a few reports of trailers and garages being damaged by fallen trees, but nothing major. He said areas in the county north of Route 29 were more significantly impacted.  

“It was a fairly severe storm, but it’s nothing that we haven’t dealt with in the past,” Santa Maria said. 

Nationally, the weather system was deadly, resulting in tornados that killed more than 60 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Kentucky alone. In upstate New York, the storm, which carried up to 80 mile-per-hour winds in some places, led to about 223,000 power outages, according to National Grid. 

“This was a significant wind storm that affected National Grid customers across the state,” Patrick Stella, a National Grid spokesperson, wrote in an email on Monday. “The hardest hit areas were along the lake shores of Lake Ontario and Erie, but wind gusts did cause outages here in Eastern NY as well.”

In Montgomery County, the biggest impact may have been on the county building at 64 Broadway in Fonda, which was without power until about midday on Monday. 

“It was certainly an interesting Monday morning,” said Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort. 

The county building, which houses services including the Department of Motor Vehicles, was closed Monday, but it will reopen for normal operations Tuesday, according to Ossenfort. 

Prior to the power being restored Monday, the county’s offices were experiencing phone issues in most buildings, except for the sheriff’s office and public safety building, according to a Monday Facebook post by Montgomery County.

All things considered, Ossenfort said he was glad that the storm didn’t cause more destruction in the county, calling it “more of an inconvenience.

“Thankfully, I think we weathered it pretty well.”

Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite. 

By Andrew Waite

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