Another heat wave is gripping much of the WAMC listening area today, including the Hudson Valley and Capital Region. There is a heat advisory and the potential for another few rounds of severe pop-up thunderstorms.
Meteorologist Brian Frujis is with the National Weather Service in Albany. He says July has been consistent in its weather pattern.
“We have a very humid air mass in place and, with the humidity comes the hot temperatures. And we once again do expect temperatures to reach into the low 90s today, and that’s going to allow the heat index value to get into the upper 90s. So, definitely people spending time outdoors should really take precautions against the heat,” Frujis says. “And then, along with the heat also comes the threat for some thunderstorms. It looks like late today, especially as we get towards the evening hours, there’ll be the potential for some scattered storms, and any of those storms will have the capability of producing some really heaving downpours and some gusty winds.”
Strong storms moved through parts of the Hudson Valley Monday. Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian says the Poughkeepsie-based utility company is working on power restoration.
“It’s impacted our customers in central and northern Dutchess County and portions of Ulster County, And, in all, about 8,800 of our customers were affected by the storm as of yesterday evening,” Maserjian says. “And it was quite a mess. Many trees were knocked down by strong winds. There were some heavy rains, which impeded some of the early progress in addressing the damage. Overnight, we restored power to all but 1,200 customers as of this morning.”
He expects some lingering outages to last until around 5 today.
“We saw some isolated cases of damage,” says Maserjian. “For example, within the Town of Poughkeepsie, we saw limited damage, mostly rain, but, in the City of Poughkeepsie, we saw quite a bit of damage with downed trees and flooded roadways.”
Maserjian says power outages in Ulster County affected mainly Kingston, Lloyd, Rosendale, Esopus and Plattekill. Meantime, in hard-hit Schenectady County, Niskayuna is grappling with power outages and storm damage from Sunday. Denise Murphy McGraw is chair of the Town Board Highways & Public Facilities Committee and Public Works Committee
“There’s still a large number of folks in what we call our Old Niskayuna neighborhoods that are without power. We’re very surprised by that. We’ve gotten a couple of updates and they’ve been pushed back a few time,” says Murphy McGraw. “And then our crews are trying to deal with downed trees, downed limbs, debris strewn around. To add insult to injury, our town pool was one of the areas affected yesterday.”
There was a smoking wire outside the pool. She says all was addressed and the pool reopened around 5 Monday.
“We are well aware of the fact that we can be in for a new round of this this evening. Wednesday looks very difficult. So we are very concerned here, especially in areas in town where we have a lot of trees,” Murphy McGraw says. “We already have hanging limbs and we’re trying to clear them all. Our highway crew has been working around the clock to try and ensure roads are passable, our power lines are as safe as they can possibly be.”
The Town Community Center on Aqueduct Road is serving as a cooling center today. National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella:
“So, really, we got dealt a double blow on Sunday and Monday with fairly strong storm cells going through pretty much the same area, and that’s that area from Schenectady all the way up through Clifton Park. So just as we were getting done with some of the restoration from Sunday night’s storm, we had another one come through and affect the same customers in a lot of cases,” Stella says. “So, we have plenty crews out there. We have additional crews on. They’ve been working around the clock, through the night. And last night, at the peak, we had about 16,000 customers out, and we’re down to somewhere around 1,000, I think, at this point.”
He says the hardest hit areas of Schenectady County should get power back by 11 tonight.
“There’s a lot of damage. There’s a lot of trees down,” Stella says. “We’ve had several poles, probably 10-15 poles, that we’ve had to place. Those are time-consuming operations to replace poles.”
Maserjian says Central Hudson is ably handling the high energy use, but urges customers to conserve.
“When energy use rises, the wholesale price for electricity also rises, and that could impact your bill,” Maserjian says. “So it’s best to try to conserve by raising the thermostat settings to 78 degrees or higher when you’re not at home.”
National Grid’s Stella has some safety advice:
“If you are running a home generator, we ask that you pull the main circuit breaker in your house while you’re running the generator or else you risk running power back through the lines that our crews are working on, and that’s a dangerous situation,” Stella says.
Central Hudson’s Maserjian warns about steering clear of downed power lines. A number of cooling centers are open across the region, including in Troy as well as the City of Poughkeepsie, where one is open until 5 at the Public Safety Building on Main Street.