Orange & Rockland (O&R) activated its Storm Plan for employees to be mobilized through the weekend to respond to extensive damage expected from today's early snow storm and strong winds. As of about 6 p.m. it reported 36,334 Rockland customers without power. Systemwide, 79,463 O&R lost service.
The National Weather Service's Winter Storm Warning remains in effect till 2 a.m. The weather service forecasts heavy snow and brisk winds will continue with accumulations of 10 to 14 inches possible. Heavy snow should taper off by midnight. Expect wind gusts of 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour. Visibility could be down to a quarter mile or less at times and travel will remain extremely hazardous and should be avoided.
According to its website, O&R’s electric line crews, supplemented by skilled workers trained in electric line repairs, will be working, along with tree-trimming and line-contractor crews. The Company is also tapping its mutual aid network of utilities outside of the freak fall snowstorm's path for additional support.
Joining O&R's overhead line crews will be contractor line and tree crews, underground line crews and gas department crews, all of whom will be working through the night to assess equipment damaged in this early season snow storm. O&R Emergency Preparedness planners also are expecting assistance from neighboring utilities to arrive early Sunday morning.
As of 10:45 p.m.: Orange and Rockland Utilities reports it has more than 78,000 customers without service in its area. In Rockland County, there are 36,344 customers without power — the hardest hit portion of the seven counties in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania covered by O&R. Within Rockland, 14,420 customers are without power in Clarkstown, 921 in Nyack, 6,021 in Orangetown, 82 in South Nyack and 839 in Upper Nyack. Among the other hard-hit communities in Rockland is Stony Point, with 3,793 customers affected.
As of 11 p.m. an Update from Wayne Ballard, Clarkstown Superintendent of Highways:
"The situation right now is that we have 225 downed trees that we know of. But we’re suspecting at least 800 that have fallen into streams and with 225 miles of stream, I haven’t been back there yet to see what’s going on."
Ballard added that of the 225 downed trees, "we have 122 trees involved with the wires. Every street has a branch in the roadway." The branches and trees that fell onto wires, the highway department cannot touch those until O&R comes to shut off power to the wires.
"We have 1,500 named roads in Clarkstown. 108 are still closed because of trees blocking them. There are 270 roads that are difficult to pass because you have to go around a tree. For those trees, we have to wait for O&R or we didn’t get there yet."
"We’re coming in for a quick break right now, but the guys will be working through the night and into tomorrow. We'll work all day tomorrow with O&R to get everything ready for Monday morning’s commute."