Cleanup continued Thursday after a fast-moving storm felled trees and knocked out power to nearly 190,000 people — it is the most damage caused by weather since 2011, when the remnants of Hurricane Irene ripped through upstate.
As of about 4:30 p.m., there were nearly 49,000 without power in Albany County including more than 15,000 in the Town of Colonie, nearly 11,000 in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 in New Scotland, 6,600 in Guilderland and 5,300 in the City of Albany.
Debbie Henry, who has lived at the corner of Delsmere and Kenwood avenues in Bethlehem for 31 years was in her driveway getting something out of her van when a large tree snapped and ended up on top of her car, which was parked behind the van. Moments later, a huge section of a second tree fell to the ground.
“One minute it was fine and then all of sudden there was this huge wind and those trees were just bending and then that one just snapped,” she said while watching crews clean up the mess. “I ran into the house screaming. I didn’t see the second one come down.”
The first tree also took out power lines and one of the trees damaged her house. There is damage to the back of the car, and the roof is dented. She won’t know the extent of damage to the car or her home until the tree is pulled off but, she said, at least nobody got hurt.
“I’ve lived here 31 years and I always wondered when those trees were going to go. They were just bending in one direction. It’s not like they were blowing back and forth they were just bending. “At least nobody hurt. I was worried about the neighbors across the street. They have little kids but they were safe. And we are safe. And the guys are doing a great job cleaning everything up.”
Patrick Stella, a spokesman for National Grid, said it is the worst damage, and the most power outages, since Hurricane Irene ripped through the area in 2011.
“This is a large event with an incredible amount of damage. There are trees and limbs down and broken poles,” he said. “We have hundreds of employees on the ground and more crews coming in today to assist.”
While, there are people coming back online by the hour, part of the issue in the harder hit areas is getting through the fallen trees and other debris to where the electrical problems are, he said. Because it is difficult to know how long that will take, it is hard to estimate how long it will take for those without power to get it turned back on.
There are more than 22,000 without power in Rensselaer County, more than 20,000 in Schenectady County and nearly 10,000 in Saratoga County.
Several roadways were still closed across the Capital District on Thursday afternoon. Crews from National Grid, support crews subcontracted by National Grid and town highway departments have been working around the clock.
“I haven’t been home yet,” said Bethlehem Town Highway Superintendent Mark Dorsey.
National Grid is offering dry ice to help people keep perishable items from spoiling. In Albany County, it can be picked up at Crossgates Mall outside of the Macy’s entrance until 6 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.