Sandy takes out power in area
With winds as strong as 55 mph, the remnants of Hurricane Sandy left behind numerous power outages in Bradford and Sullivan counties Tuesday.
Bradford County Public Safety Director Robert Barnes tallied the storm's wrath.
In Bradford County, he said, about 3,300 households were still without power as of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Sullivan County Emergency Services director Sean Thibodeault had even worse news to report.
"The whole county (Sullivan County) is basically without power at this point," Thibodeault said, at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Later in the day, as of Tuesday afternoon, 2,497 Penelec customers in Bradford County and 2,333 in Sullivan County had power outages, according to Penelec. Five customers served by Penelec in Barton, N.Y. were also without power Tuesday.
Jeff Fetzer, spokesman for Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative, said crews restored power to the company's Evergreen and Monroeton substations in Bradford County at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. The substations provide power to about 1,500 customers, he said.
A substation in Hollenback that serves members in both Bradford and Wyoming counties was still out Tuesday afternoon, causing about 225 outages, Fetzer said.
A release from the company stated that Claverack had secured additional crews to assist them in restoring power, but some members on Tuesday were expected to be without power overnight.
Craig Harting, chief executive officer of Sullivan County Rural Electric Cooperative, said approximately 2,900 of its 6,000 customers had no power Tuesday afternoon.
Harting said crews backfed one substation and hoped to backfeed another later Tuesday, restoring power to about 550 customers. In addition, about 1,800 customers were to have their service restored when Penelec restored power to its substation in Estella, he said.
Four crews - two from Tennessee and two from western Pennsylvania - were scheduled to arrive Tuesday night to assist SCREC workers in restoring power, Harting said. "I expect we'll probably be working the rest of the week," he said.
Companies urged their customers to stay away from downed power lines and to report them to their electric service or emergency officials. Fallen lines may still be energized and should not be touched.
The Sullivan County commissioners will issue a disaster declaration for Sullivan
County "due to the fact that so many people are without power," Thibodeault noted.
And some roads were affected.
According to PennDOT, the following state routes as of Tuesday morning were closed or had lane restrictions due to Hurricane Sandy storm-related issues:
- SR 1002 (Dutch Mountain Road) in Cherry Township, between Fitzgerald Road and Dieffenbach Road, (downed utility);
- SR 4003 (Tompkins Road) in Fox Township, from the county line to Ellenton Mountain Road, (downed utility);
- SR 4014 (Estella Spur) between Route 154 in Elkland Township and Mill View Mountain Road in Forks Township, (downed tree).
- SR 14 from north of Route 414 in Canton Borough to Route 3028 in Alba, (downed tree);
- SR 3004 (Hatch Hill Street) from Overton Road to Route 220 in New Albany (downed tree with utility down), lane restriction.
Barnes and Thibodeault said late Tuesday morning that they were not aware of any flooding problems in Bradford and Sullivan counties or of any storm-related injuries in those counties.
Barnes said the highest recorded winds he was aware of during the storm in Bradford
County were around 55 mph.
The peak wind speed recorded during the storm at Sullivan County High School in Laporte was 41 mph, according to a 911 dispatcher who serves Sullivan County.
"We didn't get as much rain" in the area as had been forecast, said Carmon Flynn, the executive director of the Red Cross' Bradford-Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Lackawanna chapters. But as for wind speeds, the forecasts "were pretty much right on target," he said.
The remnants of Hurricane Sandy dumped 1.1 inches of rain in Towanda Township, according to Wayne Vanderpool, a weather observer for the National Weather Service.
So far, four people have stayed at the Red Cross' temporary shelter at the Wysox Fire Hall in Wysox, said shelter manager Bill Roach.
He said the Wysox shelter will remain open at least until Wednesday morning.
Two people stayed at the emergency shelter at the Eagles Mere Community Hall during the storm, Flynn said.
The Eagles Mere shelter was closed on Tuesday.
The storm aftermath in the Canton area was visible along Route 14, where several trees were down and the road was closed Tuesday morning. Utility crews were busy making repairs Tuesday morning.
Canton Borough Emergency Management Coordinator John Mosser said trees and wires were down in Canton, with some residents without power Tuesday morning on Lycoming and West Union streets and Springbrook Drive.
"It was bad enough, but we didn't have major flooding," he said. "We dodged that bullet."
In Canton Borough, there was a large traffic sign on Route 14 (Troy Street), at its intersection with Tioga Street, notifying motorists of the road closure ahead on Route 14, which was blocked off at its intersection with West Carson Street. A detour was set up that took motorists through the countryside.
There was also a "Road Closed" sign on Route 14, at its intersection with North Street in Canton.
Route 14 was also blocked off in Alba.
Upturned trees were ubiquitous in yards along Route 14 in the Canton area.
Jodi Filling, who lives along Troy Street in Canton, was without electrical power, and a large tree fell over in front of her house. Her family was counting its blessings that it didn't hit the house.
"It was pretty rugged," she said of the wind. "It sounded like a train going through."
Usually, she said, her truck is parked where the tree fell over, but luckily, it was in the garage this time.
Cathy Chilson, who lives on Sullivan Street in Canton, said the wind sounded like a freight train. She was afraid her maple tree was going to blow over, but she said only twigs came down, fortunately, on Sullivan Street.
On Troy Street near Filling's house, Chilson showed where a tree had fallen on a roof, also lifting up her brother-in-law's shed, from the ground, in the process.
Further up Route 14, outside town, what appeared to be a large willow tree - located by Spencer's Car Care and a sign reading "Uncle Bill's Trail" - was uprooted and resting on some lines.
Outside the borough in Canton Township, at the intersection of Hubers Drive and Route 14, several branches were down over Hubers Drive. A "Please Slow Down" sign aimed at motorists seemed more applicable to the wind gusts, for a change.
Troy Fire Chief Roy Vargson reported minimal impact from the storm in the Troy area. The front of the liquor store in Troy was sandbagged for a flood that apparently never came.
Area school districts were closed Tuesday, due to the weather. With the exception of the Towanda Area School District, no one could be reached for comment as to whether school would be held today. Towanda Area School District Superintendent Steve Gobble said that school would likely be held today in the district.
Sandy came and went in the Valley with minimal damage and sporadic reports of downed trees and power lines, officials said.
Reduced rain and wind forecasts for the area led Tioga County, N.Y. and Athens Borough to lift their states of emergency Tuesday morning.
The Sayre Borough Council had yet to take direct action to lift a state of emergency in the borough Tuesday afternoon. However, the borough's emergency operations center, set up at the South Thomas Avenue public works building, closed at 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to emergency management coordinator Jim Daly. Officials continued to monitor the weather and the Susquehanna River Tuesday, Daly said.
Sayre Councilman Bob Flick said the storm caused one tree in Milltown Park to fall, but crews had cleaned it up by Tuesday morning. Athens Township had few trees down and no roads closed, firefighters reported Tuesday.
Ulster Township had no water damage, and trees and limbs that had fallen were cleaned up by Tuesday morning, said supervisor Dick Farr. "We really lucked out," he said.
Many businesses in Sayre and Athens were closed Tuesday in anticipation of bad weather. Deanna Barrett, owner of Urban Connection Salon in Athens and president of the Athens Business Association, said businesses prepared for the worst after Athens' business district was flooded last September.
Several businesses moved items out of their basements, storefronts and warehouses, secured items that may become projectiles and communicated with one another and with borough authorities to keep updated, she said.
"I feel that we were very prepared," she said. "It gave me a sense of comfort that we had all areas covered."
Trick-or-treat times changed again Tuesday for Athens Borough and Sayre residents. Sayre changed its rescheduled trick-or-treat time from Saturday afternoon to 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, while Athens borough officials decided Tuesday to hold trick-or-treat hours at the original time, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
Athens Township children will also trick-or-treat on Wednesday as scheduled, according to an announcement from township officials.
With earlier predictions of widespread power outages and flash flooding in poor drainage areas, Tioga County, N.Y. seemed to dodge a bullet on this one, with only a couple hundred power outages reported by NYSEG in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
Despite the outcome, which put a damper on Halloween festivities and forced the closure of schools, businesses and municipal buildings, most in the county were relieved that the storm didn't bear down on the already battered county. Officials were also taking early action, and were prepared.
By Monday afternoon, Tioga County declared a State of Emergency, cautioning motorists to take heed of the warnings, and to stay off the roads except for essential travel.
In the Village of Owego, first responders were already gathering on Monday to prepare for anything that Sandy might bring their way.
After a meeting held Sunday evening, Oct. 28, the Village of Owego put into action a plan to respond to Sandy, Owego Fire Chief Ed Franz reported. The Owego Fire Department (OFD) was set up and ready to go, winning the first battle of response: organization.
A command center was subsequently established for emergency response at Owego Station 2, on North Avenue in Owego, N.Y. And although everyone hoped they would have an uneventful couple days of drinking coffee and eating doughnuts provided by OFD's Emergency Support Services unit, if Sandy were to cause problems, the responders were ready.
But as the winds began to arrive, numerous reports of trees coming down started to come into the Tioga County dispatch center, and high winds were reported on hilltops. Those calls were fielded at the command center established at Station 2, with links to all emergency services units, the village and the county.
Calls were answered by three man crews in small trucks, according to Chief Franz. There were also two boats with a crew of six available for water rescue.
The response team remained on duty until Sandy passed.
"We learned a lot from the last one," Franz said referring to last year's storm.
But as Sandy passed, and the number of outages was at a minimal, residents and businesses alike were relieved, as were many others in the surrounding area. Neighboring Broome County was reported as having 500 outages, and dodged a bullet on this one as well.
Staff writers Eric Hrin, James Loewenstein, and Amanda Renko contributed to this story, along with Times-Shamrock writers Wendy Post and Rick Stilson.