The Putnam Examiner

Irene Leaves Putnam Powerless

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The heavy rains and strong winds from Hurricane Irene have left many areas flooded, downed trees abundant and over half the residents of Putnam without power.

The waters of the Hudson River filled Main Street in Cold Spring.

The Hudson River overflows into Cold Spring.

Downed trees ripped down hundreds of electrical and cable lines leaving people without power, television and internet.

As of Monday night 24,000 NYSEG customers were still without power.

 “Our first priority is to make sure all downed wires are safe, we don’t want anybody getting hurt out there,” said NYSEG spokesperson Clayton Ellis. “There have been so many of the downed wire situations in the Brewster division. There were more than 500 downed wire situation. We have to assign people to those and make sure that those are safe before we do anything else.”

“At the same time we have to go out and do a damage assessment,” Ellis explained. “We have to take a good look at the situation and determine exactly what the problems are otherwise you cannot have an efficient power restoration. Once we get further along in that damage assessment, we should be able to start assigning some of the restorations by Tuesday to some of the situations.”

NYSEG is saying it could take up to two weeks before full power has been restored.

“They said [on a conference call] that full restoration could take a week or two,” said Kent Supervisor Katherine Doherty.  “They know if they say a few days and it is a week that people are going to go nuts.”

“Apparently NYSEG’s wires were more damaged in this storm than in previous storms and that threw them for a loop,” she added. “People are getting upset with us because we they think we are not getting the information out there. However, even we are not getting answers. Everyone is just really frustrated about the situation.”

“It is hard, people have freezers full of food and this is not a time to be wasting food,” Doherty said.

The county set up makeshift shelters at two senior centers located in Mahopac and Putnam Valley. The William Kohler Senior Center on Route 6 in Mahopac and The Putnam Valley Senior Center at 117 Town Park Lane in Putnam Valley were established as emergency shelters for residents who were affected by power loss and areal flooding.

Dry ice was dished out by State Sen. Greg Ball at the Mahopac Fire Department and by Michael Rights at Southeast Town Hall. NYSEG suspended the distribution of dry ice at the Carmel Fire Department after the organization couldn’t properly meet the demand of residents.

Brewster resident Bob Sutherland, who arrived at 2 p.m., said officials arrived around 3 p.m. without any dry ice on hand.

“If you are one of the unfortunate who have been out of power for the last two days and were hoping to get some dry ice to save perishables, forget it,” Sutherland said. “My wife went to the Carmel Fire Department at 2 p.m., where they publicized on their website it was going to be available from 2 to 5 p.m. When they arrived, they had no dry ice at all—that is beyond unbelievable.”

Brewster Mayor Jim Schoenig assured residents that workers were doing the best they could and would get the village back to working order as soon as possible.

“The Village of Brewster is weathering Hurricane Irene well,” Schoenig said. “Please be cautious of trees that have sustained wind damage, as limbs may have broken but have not yet fallen. Also if you have any power lines that been effected please do not attempt to either asses them or move them yourself.”

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