PUTNAM VALLEY, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell led Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state representatives through the storm ravaged areas in Putnam Valley to show the damage incurred from the Tuesday evening’s storms that left a trail of destruction throughout the Hudson Valley. At a press conference held in Putnam Valley, the Governor and County Executive gave an update on the recovery efforts.
Odell activated the incident command structure at Putnam County Government at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. By 6:36 p.m. she declared a state of emergency. The 9-1-1 dispatch center fielded more than 1,800 calls Tuesday night. There were 30,000 customers without power and 144 roads closed.
County Executive Odell said that NYSEG and Central Hudson have been embedded in the EOC and are in communication with the county and local officials. The county is working on its priority list of critical points, which includes getting power back on at Putnam Hospital Center, so it can be off its generator.
“It’s our hope today after the utility companies complete their safe mode and assessment that the county and local highway crews will begin to cut and clear the downed trees and poles,” County Executive Odell said. “Let’s be courteous, let’s be respectful and let’s remember we are all in this together and we will keep everyone in our prayers. We have been lucky in Putnam County. We did not suffer any fatalities.”
County Executive Odell added. “I want to thank our first responders, including our highway crews, which I think now with all of their experience we can include them in our first responder community have been on the ready and on the go. Keep in mind that they leave their houses and their families to get out there to try to get the roads open and to try to make sure that the community stays safe. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for sending his best and brightest again. We’re all getting to know each other I think too well over the last several months and storms. But we are working together on this. That’s important for everyone to know.”
As part of the recovery effort, the Governor has deployed 125 members of the New York National Guard and to further assist communities with recovery efforts. Currently, thousands of state and local personnel are on site in the affected areas with pre-deployed equipment to clear transportation corridors of debris and assess damage throughout the affected areas. In addition, a mobile command center is also en route that will be staffed by Department of Financial Services personnel to assist Putnam Valley residents with insurance claims.
“As these extreme weather events continue, New York is committed to stepping up our preparedness and ensuring that all impacted New Yorkers receive the assistance they need to recover and clean up after the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re on the ground and are working tirelessly to restore power and help the affected communities recover as quickly as possible. The rain is expected to continue. That’s going to make the cleanup more difficult, not less difficult.”
Governor Cuomo added. “We’ll be bringing in an additional 1,100 to help clean up the mess. Department of Transportation is on site. They have hundreds of pieces of equipment. They’ll be working with the County Executive to coordinate resources as well as the local town supervisors. Department of Homeland Security for the state has hundreds of generators, 60,000 meals for people who may be displaced, et cetera. The Department of Public Service is working with the utilities. There has been an issue in terms of utility response and when you’re without power, any delay is too long and we understand that.”
Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is “blacked out” and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a “four way” stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.
The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting today, Wednesday, May 16, until 7:30 p.m., to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377. If you are without power and you have an emergency, there are emergency generators, meals and water available, so call the hotline if that situation exists.
“Thank you very much and I’d like to thank the County Executive and Supervisor Sam Oliverio and all their teams that did extraordinary work,” said Governor Cuomo. “You know we tend to focus on the negative in these situations. What hasn’t been done, what power hasn’t been restored. We also need to remember that you had people out all night long in the storm starting early yesterday afternoon, putting themselves in danger. Leaving their families and working tremendously hard so the damage wasn’t worse. And we thank all of them and we truly appreciate their service.”
Metro-North Service on the northern Harlem Line between Southeast and Wassaic will resume this afternoon with the departure of the 3:43 p.m. train from Grand Central to Wassaic.