Devastation as Killer Storm Thrashes Putnam
Trains on the Harlem line are now running through Southeast. Service had resumed as far as Mt. Kisco earlier on Thursday.
Service on the Hudson line, with stops in Cold Spring and Garrison, has not fully resumed, however. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday evening that service would resume Friday through Croton-Harmon. However, there's no clear indication yet when full service, including stops in Garrison and Cold Spring, will return. The tracks along the Hudson were said to have been heavily damaged in at least two places, possibly even necessitating track replacement. Those locations are north of Croton-Harmon.
More info is available at MTA.info.
We have this late update at 11:30 a.m. from senior reporter Eric Gross, who is on the scene in Carmel:
"Right now, there is still so much devastation," Gross reports. "They're concerned with getting homes and businesses back. Carmel's Main St. is still without power. It's the county seat! They put stop signs at the main intersection, at Route 6 and 52 by the library. It's just crazy."
Still, said Gross, compared to many places -- Long Island and New Jersey, for instance -- Putnam County is fortunate.
We will continue to post updates as they become available.
Earlier story, from Thursday's Courier:
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has extended the “state of emergency” for Putnam through week’s end, official acknowledgement that three days into the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, vast pieces of eastern Putnam remain without power and stranded by downed trees and impassable roads.
The order bars all non-essential traffic from county roads and closes all non-essential county facilities, as well as cancels county meetings and countysponsored events. Odell has also opened senior centers for sheltering, suspended municipal transit, and opened the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
The series of actions resulted from one of this century’s most damaging storms. Hurricane Sandy barreled up the eastern seaboard wreaking havoc along the way. Putnam County was no exception with strong winds gusting in excess of 77 mph toppling trees and utility poles – many landing on top of homes and buildings.
Electric service was destroyed by the damage. NYSEG reported a 100 percent outage in Lake Carmel and Kent, 86 percent of residents and businesses in Carmel and Mahopac plunged into darkness, 75 percent of Putnam Valley lost power while 50 percent of Patterson residents had no electric service and 40 percent of greater Brewster and Southeast had no power. Philipstown, in the west, had only scattered outages from Central Hudson service
Odell met with officials from NYSEG on Tuesday afternoon who advised that mutual aid crews were still responding from upstate and out-of-state: “NYSEG has major transmission and distribution issues. Once these are ironed out utility workers will work on getting the power restored to the individual local areas which is going to be a lengthy process,” she said.
Telephone and internet service for local residents has also been adversely affected. Many Comcast customers have been without e-mail, phone and television service since Tuesday morning, while cell phone usage has been described as “poor at best” due to dropped calls, intermittent line failures and poor connections due to overuse of phone lines and cell towers.
The Putnam 911 Dispatch Center was even affected by the crisis when phone lines went down for a period of time Tuesday, necessitating the county’s use of its back-up public service answering point at the Sheriff’s Department.
Putnam Health Commissioner Dr. Alan Beals expressed concern about food spoilage as the hours and days of non-refrigeration add up: “When it doubt throw it out!”
Dr. Beals said frozen foods must be consumed once they thaw: “Never refreeze such items.” He also suggested milk and dairy products be disposed of if left unrefrigerated more than 12 hours.
Sections of eastern Putnam County resembled ghost towns Tuesday night. While traveling along Route 52 from the county seat through Lake Carmel and into Kent, not a single light was observed, except for the headlamps of a handful of vehicles. Businesses were closed and all homes were shrouded in darkness.
Emergency services personnel have been run ragged around the clock in the wake of the monster storm. To compound matters, a house in Kent was heavily damaged Tuesday night when a portable generator ignited, causing the home on Route 52 north of Ludingtonville Road to catch fire.
Firefighters from Lake Carmel, Carmel, Kent, Patterson, Brewster and East Fishkill battled the blaze. The homeowner, Robert Johnson and his family, escaped unhurt.
Odell reiterated her call Wednesday for “everyone to sit tight and stay home. We all have to be thankful for our first responders and emergency services volunteers making sure that everyone’s safety is a top priority.”