Governor directs additional state resources to help areas battered by wind storm

Posted 10 March 2017 at 5:45 pm

Photo courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s Office: Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in Rochester today at Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed additional state actions to assist local communities that sustained power outages and damage from recent severe windstorms.

State agencies are working around the clock and are in close coordination with utility companies to deploy additional crews to restore power for residents as quickly as possible. At the Governor’s direction, the state launched a 24/7 Finger Lakes Region Emergency Hotline to provide the latest information to residents affected in their community at 866-244-3839.

The Governor also announced that 200 National Guardsmen will be available to Monroe County to assist with local recovery efforts.

“In light of the strong winds and recent damage incurred in upstate communities, we are taking additional actions to help communities restore power and assist those impacted by the storm,” Cuomo said .  “We have deployed additional resources from across the State, and we will continue to aggressively respond in the community until the recovery is complete.”

The New York State Division of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management, State Police, state Department of Transportation, and State Police are staffing the State Emergency Operations Center and are currently in the regions to assist localities with storm response. The Monroe County Emergency Operations Center remains open with representatives from NYS OEM, State Police and DOT on site.  Additional OEM staff were also sent to the region to support any activities necessary and to visit shelters and warming centers.

Wind gusts reached upwards of 76 miles per hour in Genesee County, and the City of Rochester experienced its second highest wind gust in history of 81 miles per hour, which was recorded at the Rochester Airport on Wednesday.

The New York State Department of Transportation has more than 300 workers on the ground working around the clock to clear trees and reopen roads quickly and safely. Once RG&E notifies DOT that there is no danger of encountering live wires, DOT crews will deploy on scene to begin clearing debris to create a safe path for motorists. DOT continues to utilize crews from the region and from other parts of the state, including 20 traffic signal technicians. Motorists are reminded to treat dark traffic signals as all-way stops.

In the immediate aftermath of the windstorm, 54 sections of state highway closed. This afternoon eight remain closed, all impacted by downed power lines. DOT crews from the region and across the state will remain on the ground through the weekend working in coordination with State and Local officials.  DOT crews will remain on the ground until all roads are reopened and all signals reactivated. Senior staff from DOT have been at the EOC for the duration monitoring the storm closely and working with state agencies to coordinate response.

The Department of Public Service has been in regular contact with utility senior executives, and it is closely monitoring utility storm restoration efforts to ensure that utilities are minimizing outages and speeding outage restorations. In light of the significant outages, the Department will extend its Call Center Helpline hours to be open this weekend, Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to assist consumers in storm response and restoration efforts. The Department’s Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling (800) 342-3377. Residents can also call the Finger Lakes Region Emergency Hotline 24 hours a day at 866-244-3839.

Rochester Gas and Electric / NYSEG have 1,500 workers on the ground to assist with restoration efforts. There are approximately 82,600 customers currently without power due to extensive damage in Monroe County, as multi-day outages are expected. RG&E expects to restore power to 90% of its customers by midnight Sunday, March 12.

Beginning today, an additional 682 workers – including 35 from NYPA and 50 from NYS municipal utilities – will be deployed to assist as well.  The crews are en route from: New York municipal utilities, PSEG Long Island, Canada, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.

National Grid has 1,700 workers on the ground, and is reporting that 90% of their outages will be restored by midnight.

Photo by Tom Rivers: A tree came down in Greenwood Cemetery in Kendall after punishing winds damaged property and knocked out electricity.

At the request of Monroe County, The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has supplied 500 cots, 500 pillows, and 1000 blankets from the State Stockpile location in Chili. Additional assets available include 491 cots, 1,158 pillows, 36,000 cans of water, 168 towels, 28 light towers, 121 generators, and 1,368 wool blankets from the State Stockpile location in Chili, Monroe County.

Shelters are open 24 hours a day and residents should call ahead to their county for the hours of operation for all warming stations.

In Orleans County, the American Red Cross will have a shelter overnight at the Kendall Town Hall.

Cuomo also made the following remarks in Rochester, urging people to be good neighbors and look out for one another.

“We’re New Yorkers, we’re one family of New York and we help each other,” the governor said. “This is one of the situations where we need to help each other. Check on a neighbor. Check on an elderly neighbor. Knock on a door. Ask people if they need any help. Sometimes people can become disoriented in situations like this, so acting as a good neighbor is important.

“You’re going to have utility crews who have been working around the clock and have not seen their families and they’re going to be exhausted. A smile and a nice word can be helpful there. First responders have been doing a great, great job. So, let’s help one another. Let’s be supportive. Let’s do what New Yorkers do best.

“We will get through this. All of the help we need and expertise we need will be on the ground. Again, it is a terrible inconvenience, we all understand that. We didn’t cause it, but we’re going to do the best we can to resolve it as quickly as possible. If you need help, we have help that is ready.”

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