Winter storm rages on; cleanup continues

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According to, more than 78,000 customers across New York state, more than 72,000 across Massachusetts and more than 33-thousand in Vermont were in the dark by late afternoon.
Jim Levulis

With thousands of customers without power during the winter storm impacting the Northeast, utilities are working on restoration efforts.

Officials continue to urge people to stay off the roads as heavy, wet snow is making travel difficult and causing power outages across the Northeast. New York has declared a state of emergency and Governor Kathy Hochul says visibility could be impacted by high winds.

The snow keeps falling at two inches an hour, and there’s the combination of the winds," Hochul said. "That’s when you get the situation you just can’t see the car in front of you. And it is phenomenally dangerous and that's when people are more likely to go off the road, they don't see the turns in the road, and that's when they end up in ditches.”

 As the marathon nor'easter continues dumping snow and sleet, spokesman Joe Jenkins says Central Hudson handed out dry ice and bottled water in Ulster and Dutchess counties.

"This winter storm has had significant impacts on our service area so far," said Jenkins. "The initial wave really consisted of heavy wet snow that pulled on tree limbs and caused them to fall and toppled trees onto power lines. We did experience widespread outages throughout our service area. We are also concerned with the ongoing forecast calling for wind gusts that have the potential to create additional outages as we move forward. So even though we have crews, we have a field force of more than 500 workers out there making repairs and restoring power throughout the day and into the evening. You know those numbers fluctuate pretty regularly due to outages coming on to the system and then restorations then taking them off of the system. But we do have mutual aid from several different states and a very large contingent out there.”

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella says trees and wires are down across its service area.

"Our crews have had the same challenges as everyone else today of getting around during the storm," Stella said. "We're still really, we're still in the middle of that storm. We're still seeing heavy wet snow, especially to the north. So we're still really trying to assess the condition of our system and figure out what it's going to take to get everybody back and when those restoration times will be."

Stella adds crews from some areas that did not get hit by the storm will also be coming into the Capital Region throughout the evening and Wednesday to bolster the utility's response.

Several roads in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont were closed much of the day as crews worked to clear the snow and the multiple trees reported down across roadways. The majority of the WAMC listening area is under winter storm warnings until Wednesday morning.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says it's been a long haul for county crews working the hilltowns.

"They're looking at about 16 to 20 inches," said McCoy. "So when the wind blowing is making it tougher for visibility, but we're doing good in power outages. We're doing better than other counties, we're roughly only 4000 People without power right now, so I'm still encouraging people to hilltowns stay off the roads, let the men and women do their job up there. And especially in the city, you know, let people know please park off the tree to be gone and work with the DPW out and about so they can keep the streets clean and get them ready."

According to, more than 78,000 customers across New York state, more than 72,000 across Massachusetts, more than 33,000 in Vermont and about 10,000 in Connecticut were in the dark by late Tuesday afternoon.

In New York’s Saratoga County, the town of Halfmoon announced it would open its town hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday for residents who lost power. Food, water, blankets and cots will be available as town hall will remain open throughout the night.

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Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.