Upstate New York: Storm Recovery Update
By Dave Lucas
New Paltz, NY – Cleanup and rebuilding across upstate New York in the aftermath of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee is expected to take months. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has an update...
Things are not anywhere close to being "back to normal" for the communities hit with the one-two punch of tropical storms Irene and Lee. There are homes, farms, roads and bridges that have to be restored and rebuilt... electric and telephone lines are being restrung and services slowly coming back online...
Rotterdam Assemblyman George Amedore is asking for Governor Andrew Cuomo's support of the Flood Assessment Relief Act, based on legislation enacted in 2005 and again in 2007, in order to provide relief to homeowners and residents who were flooded out. The Republican recently toured devastated areas of Montgomery and Schenectady Counties, getting a firsthand look at all the damage by talking to families and small businesses hurt by the storms.
Patterson Republican Senator Greg Ball says the storms demonstrated that the state has to develop a better emergency-response system: he plans to hold a hearing on the state and federal response to Irene. Many of the community leaders in places like Prattsville and Schoharie are out right now assisting in cleanup- too busy and too concerned about their neighbors to immediately return calls for updates. Congressman Chris Gibson is leading a bipartisan effort in congress to make sure that the aid from FEMA continues to flow. Bill Petronis with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns there's still a lot of debris in the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, Conditions ARE improving, he says, but "boaters beware".
Frustration with the lack of information and the slow and sporadic efforts in restoring power to customers who lost electric and gas service after the storms prompted the Westchester County Board of Legislators is in working with officials from New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) to pinpoint areas for better storm response. Schenectady County Director of Public Communications Joe McQueen says "recovery mode is in full swing".
Most upstaters weren't expecting the amount of damage and destruction the two storms wrought: Last week Governor Cuomo pointed out that the state concentrated a lot of resources in New York City and on Long Island because all the weather models pegged them as the main storm targets.