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NYSEG worker Joe Buchert uses a chain saw to remove a tree hanging over power lines in a wooded area off of Route 10 in Kortright on Wednesday. Other NYSEG workers were working to restore power. (Star photo by Brit Worgan)

Power could be out in some parts of the area until late Sunday, NYSEG officials said Wednesday after a storm that began Tuesday and brought more than a foot of snow to higher elevations.

About 13,300 NYSEG customers were without power Thursday afternoon at about 5 p.m., according to a media release. Fewer outages were being reported by other power companies that serve the area, though thousands with two area energy cooperatives were without power.

Delaware County appeared to be hit hardest of the 11 counties served by the Oneonta division of New York State Electric & Gas, an official said.

The county Department of Emergency Services has announced two shelters will be opened, because there were still 6,000 residents without power as of 5:30 p.m.

The shelter at the Assembly of God Church, on state Route 28 in Delhi, opened at 5 p.m. The other shelter was to open in the town of Andes at the United Methodist Church at 328 Lower Main St., according to a media release.

The Red Cross is prepared to shelter residents overnight in both locations or until power is restored, as well as provide meals, officials said. People in need of shelter can call the Emergency Services Department at 746-9600 or the sheriff's department at 746-2336.

Extra crews have been brought in to help with the power restoration, said NYSEG spokesman Jim Salmon.

Crews are working around the clock to get customers online as soon as possible, he said.

Attention was first directed to critical facilities, such as schools, hospitals and emergency services, and NYSEG is now working on the larger concentrations of customers.

Customers may find more specific information on the company's website at www.nyseg.com, by following the link to "outage central," clicking "electricity outages" and click on town links under the Oneonta division. The direct link is http://ebiz1.nyseg.com/cusweb/outage.

Dry ice and bottled water was made available at the Stamford NYSEG office for several hours Wednesday, a NYSEG official said. The service will be there again from noon to 8 p.m. today, as will at NYSEG offices in Norwich and Deposit. Plans were being finalized for a location at Waterville.

Hundreds powerless in Stamford

There were more than 400 people without power in Stamford on Wednesday afternoon, NYSEG officials said.

A few staff members at Stamford Central School were willing to talk about their experience. Guidance counselor Terri Korba said that her house on Bailey Road lost power at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

She spent hours singing Christmas carols with her daughters to pass the time and cooked soup on the wood stove.

"It was fun to do things a little differently, not that I want to do it again," she said.

Special education teacher Cathy Popp-McKenna said her family lost power at their Foote Hollow Road house at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. It is about 2,500 feet above sea level, she said.

The biggest concern is for the freezer full of meat the family received from the butcher from animals they raise. They are going to try and hook up a generator to prevent losing it all.

The worst part is the lack of water," she said.

Co-op customers suffer outages

About half of the 5,200 customers of Delaware County Electric Cooperative were without power Wednesday afternoon, a company official said.

This included Gail Marquart of East Meredith, who said Wednesday night that she and her husband, Louis, have been without power, except for a 11/2-hour interval, since 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Because they have an electric water pump, they are using snow for water, she said. The area, which is at about 1,900 feet, has about 15 inches of snow, she said.

"There's no water, no power and no heat," she said, and her freezer has started defrosting.

The retired couple has a propane heater, she said, so they were staying home again Wednesday night.

In the eight years they have been living here, she added, this is the first time power has been out for so long.

Cooperative Assistant Manager Wayne Marshfield said the mountain elevations have about 1 to 2 feet of wet snow that clung to trees and brought down limbs, causing the problem.

"We are hoping by tomorrow night to restore power," but when lines were energized, they burned out again, so the wait might be longer, he said.

In Otsego County, there was a mini-shelter set up for two people at the Fly Creek Fire Station, said Emergency Services Coordinator Lyle "Butch" Jones. A warming station that was set up at the Wells Bridge Fire Station was closed after power was restored in that area, he said.

The situation will be monitored to assess the public's need over the next few days, he said.

Steve Rinell, chief executive officer for Otsego Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to about 4,500 customers, mostly in the county, still had about 1,800 without power Wednesday afternoon, he said.

Crews were being brought in from other locations to help and power was expected to be restored tonight. Edmeston, Richfield and Cooperstown were among the hardest-hit areas, Rinell said.

At National Grid, which supplies power to 540,000 customers in upstate New York, including eastern Otsego and parts of Schoharie counties, there were about 1,500 customers without power Wednesday afternoon, said Patrick Stella. With extra crews coming in, it was hoped that most would have power restored by Wednesday night, but scattered outages could last until today.

A shelter was set up Wednesday at Gilboa-Conesville Central School. Cold weather forcast for Wednesday night made this necessary, an administrator with Schoharie County Emergency Management Office said. For more information, call Emergency Management at (518) 295-2276.

In Chenango County, Sheriff Thomas Loughren, who serves as director of the emergency management office, said about the storm, "I don't think it was that bad."

He said he knew of no need for any shelters.

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