Storm damage on Fair Street, in Carmel. Photo / Chris Layton
Mother Nature rumbled through Putnam County with a vengeance Thursday evening turning day to night in a matter of minutes.
Cloud to ground lightning, torrential rains and gale force winds uprooted trees in Carmel, Mahopac, Kent, Southeast and Putnam Valley closing many roads.
Homes were struck by lightning in Mahopac on Teakettle Spout Road and on Route 22 in Brewster.
A section of the northbound Taconic State Parkway was closed to traffic near the Route 301 interchange in Putnam Valley. Stoneleigh Avenue in the vicinity of Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel was also closed due to a falling tree as was Stoneleigh Avenue near Daisy Lane north of the Croton Falls line.
Southeast was hit hard with Route 22 closed to traffic due to falling trees in the vicinity of the Reed Farm condo complex south of the village. Starr Ridge Road was also described as a “disaster area” by a trooper patrolling the county.
NYSEG reported outages to more than 20,000 residents of Carmel, Mahopac, Lake Carmel, Kent, Southeast, Brewster and Patterson at the height of the storm. At 7 a.m. Friday, the number was reduced to 3,600 customers.
Sarah and Ken Stefanak of Carmel took their children out for dinner around 5 o’clock Thursday prior to the storm’s arrival.
Sarah told the Courier “dinner was delicious but at 6:45 when we went to pay the bill, the lights went out inside the restaurant.”
It took the family more than two hours to get home: “It seemed that everywhere we turned, another tree and wires had come down blocking our path. A normal 1- minute trip became a real adventure,” she said.
Prior to the storm’s arrival that resulted in tornados touching down in upstate Elmira and in Sullivan County, the New York State Parks and Recreation Department evacuated all campers from the Fahnestock State Park in Kent and Putnam Valley.
Emergency services providers throughout eastern Putnam were placed on alert starting at 7 p.m. Thursday with all fire stations and ambulance headquarters manned in case services were needed throughout the night.
The Putnam 911 Dispatch Center reported answering 350 calls from 6:30 p.m. to midnight.
-------------------------- EARLIER STORY FROM THURSDAY --------------------------
Some potentially serious weather is headed our way—serious enough that the news alerts have been pouring in all morning.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement: “The National Weather Service has issued an updated weather advisory that warns of strong thunderstorms passing through the state throughout the day, primarily in the southern areas of upstate New York and the New York City area…New Yorkers should be especially aware of the weather conditions when making their travel plans today and monitor local news reports and weather alerts throughout the day.”
Central Hudson is alerting customers of a moderate risk of severe weather this afternoon and evening from
2 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to forecasts by the National Weather Service. Storms may bring strong, damaging wind gusts; large hail; lightning; and a risk of localized flooding along small streams. Weather forecasts also warn of the possibility of tornado activity in the area. “These conditions may cause electric service interruptions as damaged and falling trees and lightning strikes could im
pact utility lines,” said James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson.
Among the storm precautions being suggested are
· Keep away from downed power lines, and lines which may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees. Assume all downed lines are live;
· Avoid using candles for light;
· Follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on the use of emergency generators, and operating the units outdoors;
· Never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors. Use these appliances only outdoors with proper ventilation. Similarly, operate cars and motor vehicles outdoors only, and never in the garage.
· Leave at least one light switch in the on position to alert you when power has been restored.
· If you have a power outage, avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen. Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process. Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.
Laurito also urged Central Hudson customers to:
· Pay close attention to weather advisories and storm warnings;
· Have a telephone that does not require an electric outlet to operate;
· Charge cell phones, or have a car cell phone charger;
· Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy;
· Have a battery-powered radio to keep informed of restoration efforts;
· Stock water and packaged or canned foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking. Be sure to have a non-electric can opener;
· Ensure adequate supplies of prescription medications, cash and other necessities;
· Refuel vehicles and ensure that they are in good working condition;
· Know how to manually open automatic garage doors;
· Have a plan to check on vulnerable neighbors or family members;
· If you do lose power, to reduce the risk of damage to major appliances that would go back on when it is restored, turn off or unplug them.
EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
Central Hudson: 845- 452-2700 / 800-527-2714 / www.CentralHudson.com
Con Edison: 800-75-CONED (752-6633) / www.conEd.com.
NYSEG: 800-572-1131 / www.nyseg.com
Have your account number available, if possible, and report whether your neighbors also have lost power.