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Fred Stabbert III | Democrat

Tim Sykes catches a quick lunch before getting his back to his family's Stewart Road farm in North Branch. Brothers Bob and Tim had to milk their 140-head herd using a power generator during two days without electric.

Snow hits hard

By Fred Stabbert III
SULLIVAN COUNTY — February 26, 2010 — You knew it had to come.
The Northeast, normally a winter wonderland, had been spared any significant snowfall this winter – until this week. That’s when two back-to-back storms dumped what is expected to be nearly two feet of the white stuff on Sullivan County, bringing schools, county government and many businesses to a near standstill.
Yesterday afternoon, County Manager David Fanslau made it official by issuing a Winter Storm Warning for yesterday and today as well as placing Sullivan County into a State of Emergency until noon today.
“The National Weather Service in Binghamton has advised Sullivan County officials through a briefing that the winter storm for Thursday and Friday will produce near blizzard conditions. There will be periods of very heavy snow, one to three inches per hour, with a total prediction of 10 to 20 inches,” Fanslau said.
Winds are expected to increase, and coupled with the heavy, wet snow, is expected to cause even more power outages.
Following Tuesday night’s first blast of winter, which dumped between eight inches and a foot of snow across the county, 800 customers lost their power, according to NYSEG officials.
Some customers, like farmer Tim Sykes of North Branch, just got their power back yesterday afternoon at his farm on Stewart Rd.
“We used 225 gallons of diesel fuel to power the generators so we could milk our herd,” Sykes said. “I heard their were 46 people without electric in the Town of Callicoon.”
NYSEG’s Stan Gilmore, who helped repair the line for Stewart Rd., said a tree had fallen on the power line and several fuses were also blown.
“I have been working since Tuesday night,” Gilmore said. And looking out his truck window as more snow fell, he wondered when he would return home.
NYSEG officials issued specific instructions for power interruptions, including checking with neighbors to see if they have power.
“A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse of a tripped circuit breaker,” NYSEG officials said. “Contact us by calling 1-800-572-1131 to report an interruption.”
The Sullivan County Government Center will be closed today but Sullivan County Dept. of Public Works and Sheriff employees will be on duty.
Sykes knew why Sullivan County received so much snow, “Kathy Reiser said just last week we needed a good old-fashioned snow storm.”

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