Today marks one week since Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and still more than 25,000 Orange & Rockland customers in the county are without power. According to Rockland County Fire & Emergency Services Coordinator Gordon Wren, the utility has restored power to 75 percent of those who lost it last week but it is getting more difficult for those who still do not have electricity and heat.
“I would say they made progress overnight, fairly significant progress,” said Wren. “If you’re one of the 25,000 you’re not happy. It’s getting increasingly colder.”
160 National Guard troops are working with O&R to help restore power and clear roads. While many county roads have been opened up, in some cases the tree limbs may not be completely off the roads. Wren advised drivers to be cautious especially at night when the debris may not be noticeable.
Grand View Police Department Chief Robert Vancura advises residents to expect intermittent road closures along River Road near Village Hall for approximately one week. Residents should expect road closures of about a one-hour each between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
FEMA inspectors arrived in the county and will be looking at the damage reported by homeowners, businesses and local government. It is essential to request ID or contact the utility if any uniformed person - utility worker, FEMA, National Guard - requests information, or access to your home. A sample FEMA identification tag is attached to this article.
FEMA is expected to set up a Disaster Recovery Center at Provident Bank Park in Pomona in the near future.
Wren said the county and American Red Cross shelter at Rockland Community College is staying open but the number of people staying there has been dwindling. Nine people and one dog stayed at RCC and 70 people slept overnight at the Stony Point Center. Another visible reminder of the storm, the gas lines are also shrinking.
Wren said there are several reasons for that improvement. The county’s limit of gallons per vehicle has sped up the lines at gas stations plus fewer people are on line because they have returned to work. More stations have gotten power restored and tanker truck deliveries of fuel have materialized.
Wren said his department is keeping close tabs on a possible Nor’easter approaching the region on Wednesday and is holding a conference call with the National Weather Service late Monday morning. Village and town representatives are participating in the webinar as well.
“We’re keeping all our resources in place,” he said. “We’re going to be watching this very closely.”