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October 30, 2012

Agencies cooperate to avert disaster

State and local officials briefed the media late Monday morning about storm preparations in Schoharie County and elsewhere in the state.

The briefing, held at the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center in North Blenhiem, brought together officials from the New York Power Authority, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and emergency management officials from Schoharie County.

All of the agencies have been cooperating to reduce the effects of Superstorm Sandy, said Gil C. Quinones, president and chief executive of NYPA.

In the case of NYPA and the New York City’s DEP, that meant drawing down reservoirs to make room for flood waters.

Lynn Hait, NYPA’s regional manager for the central region, said the authority had done all it could at Blenheim-Gilboa.

“Primarily, the two reservoirs are configured such that the lower reservoir is at 860 feet, the minimum operating level, and our upper reservoir is full. The lower reservoir is just slightly lower than it was a year ago, before Irene. … The upper reservoir is full because of concerns by the New York ISO for bulk electric system stability.”

Jim Tierney, assistant commissioner for water and watershed for the state DEC, cautioned that Schoharie County streams had not recovered from devastating flooding produced by Hurricane Irene 14 months ago.

“They don’t store water the way they should,” he said.

He added that 500 million gallons per day was being released from Schoharie Reservoir, while cautioning that such steps could “mitigate,” but not prevent flooding.

Other responses to the storm:

Delaware County roads close

Delaware County Chairman James E. Eisel Sr. declared a state of emergency for the county, closing all roads from 8 p.m. Monday to at least 6 a.m. today, at which time the declaration will be re-evaluated. Eisel cited predictions for overnight wind gusts as high as 70 mph and the danger created by fallen power lines as reasons for declaring the emergency.

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