Laura Stabbert | Democrat
THE POWERFUL WINDS from Tuesday evening's storm knocked down trees, along with this utility pole, on Old Taylor Road in Kenoza Lake and in many other places.
Storm pounds region
By Laura Stabbert and Frank Rizzo
SULLIVAN COUNTY A powerful storm moved through the region on Tuesday evening, knocking down trees and utility poles, and cutting off power to thousands of customers of New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and other utilities.
The National Weather Service reported that winds were clocked at between 60-80 miles per hour.
NYSEG spokesmen said that the utility’s Liberty Division (which includes all or part of Sullivan, Delaware, Ulster and Orange counties) was the hardest hit.
The division had 12,000 customers without power at its peak.
County Public Safety Commissioner Dick Martinkovic told legislators yesterday that most of the affected customers were in the Town of Bethel.
“We just got off a conference call with NYSEG,” Martinkovic said yesterday afternoon. “As of now about 1,400 customers are without power, mostly in the Town of Bethel. [NYSEG] is guaranteeing that, with some exceptions, everybody will have electricity by [Friday] evening.
“I’m feeling confident that they will do it,” Martinkovic added.
NYSEG has moved crews in from its other divisions and they are expected to work through the night.
Smallwood seemed to be the hardest-hit area in Sullivan County, with some residents claiming they thought a tornado might have moved through their hamlet.
There was no confirmation from the National Weather Service, however.
A number of homes suffered extensive damage when large trees fell on them.
“We were very fortunate that there was no loss of life,” said Martinkovic. “God Bless everyone, we made it through.”
NYSEG continued to make dry ice and water available for affected residents at the White Lake Firehouse until 8 p.m. last night.
The utility also urged customers to stay away from downed power lines even lines that appear dead can be deadly. Customers should call 1-800-572-1131 to report downed powerlines or other hazardous situations.