The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

October 31, 2012

Officials: Sandy spared much of area

By JOE MAHONEY
The Daily Star

---- — All the hype that preceded the arrival of Hurricane Sandy succeeded in getting people on edge — but in the end the storm didn’t carry the wallop for this region that had been anticipated by some forecasters, officials said Tuesday.

“People were rightfully a little nervous before this storm, but thankfully this one didn’t get us and everyone is in good shape,” said Kevin Piccoli, chairman of Rebuild Prattsville, a group that is dedicated to rejuvenating the Greene County community that was ravaged by Hurricane Irene 14 months ago.

Sandy certainly inconvenienced hundreds of local residents. Some 1,400 NYSEG customers in Delaware County and another 700 in Otsego County remained without power Tuesday night, officials said.

In Delaware County, the town of Hancock had 438 homes still without power and another 333 were in Middletown. In the town of Tompkins, 99 households had no power.

In Otsego County, power was out for 468 households in the town of Otsego and another 83 in Middlefield. Another 35 homes in the town of Springfield were without power.

Statewide, more than 110,000 NYSEG customers remained without power — most of them downstate or in the Catskills, officials said.

Otsego Electric Cooperative told customers on its web site that it was optimistic it could restore power to some 80 households that were blacked out by the storm. The utility asked that any outages be reported to its call center at 866-591-3192.

“Trees are the leading cause of power interruptions year after year, and this time it was no different,” NYSEG spokesman Clay Ellis told The Daily Star.

Ellis said the economics of converting overhead electric wires to underground lines is cost-prohibitive and presents a new set of maintenance costs for utility companies.

NYSEG warned its customers that the outage could be “lengthy” in some areas.

“As we complete our work there, crews will be re-assigned to assist our downstate crews in making repairs,” Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E, said in a statement.

Despite warnings that Sandy could evolve into a “Frankenstorm” for a widespread parts of the Northeast, at least locally, the rainfall it brought to this region was far less than what occurred in 2011 when Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee dumped sheets of rain that caused severe flooding in many communities.

The rainfall over a 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Tuesday in Oneonta amounted to .56 of an inch, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Joanne La Bounty. Richfield Springs, in that same period, got a bit more rain, with 1.26 inches.

The highest wind speed in the region was detected in Sherburne, Chenango County, where a gust was clocked at 59 miles per hour. The time of that gust was not immediately known, she said.

Wind gusts that continued Tuesday slowed down NYSEG’s ability to restore power, Lynch said.

He said the safety of crews, customers and the community is “paramount when it comes to restoring power.”