Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell praised the coordinated state, county and local response to Tropical Storm Isaias, which kept Putnam County residents safe during Tropical Storm Isaias and its aftermath.
“Once again, our county and local first responders made us proud,” County Executive Odell said. “The quick and sustained response of the members of the Incident Command Staff including Deputy County Executive Thomas Feighery, Bureau of Emergency Services Commissioner Ken Clair, Putnam County Highway Commissioner Fred Pena and the many municipal highway crews and fire and police departments that made sure our roads were cleared and our residents safe. I also want to thank the volunteers like the Knights of Columbus, Ace Endico and the Paladin Center. They didn’t hesitate to step up and offer help to our residents. It’s that community spirit that makes Putnam County such a special place to live.”
Odell also thanked the state officials who were embedded at the Incident Command Center and provided invaluable assistance, including Michael Kopy, Director of Emergency Management, Dylan Miyoshi, Hudson Valley Representative in the Office of Regional Affairs, Tom Scaglione, Hudson Valley Representative of the state Department of Labor and Tom Cogdon, Executive Deputy of the Department of Public Service.
Ken Clair Jr., the commissioner of the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services said every town in the county had significant damage, with fallen trees blocking roads everywhere and bringing down utility poles and transmission lines.
“This storm was comparable to the 2018 tornado in terms of damage,” Commissioner Clair said. “Luckily, we have a really good team in the county. The Legislature, senior services, social services, county highway and local highway crews, the police, the fire departments, everyone knows their job in a storm. We push through and we get it done.”
County Executive Odell declared a State of Emergency on August 5 and called in the New York National Guard, who distributed water and ice to each municipality for its residents.
Odell said she wished she could say the same about the response by the public utilities that our residents pay for every month. While power has been restored throughout the county, it took far too long, Odell said.
“I’m totally disappointed in NYSEG and Central Hudson,” Odell said. “The utilities were not prepared and that is just not acceptable. Not having access to a reliable power source is more than an inconvenience, for many it is a matter of life and death.”
At the height of the August 3 storm, 90 percent of NYSEG’s 39,000 customers in Putnam County lost power. Central Hudson said 36,000 of its customers in Putnam County lost power. The utilities said that damage in Putnam was even worse than the county suffered in Superstorm Sandy in 2012. NYSEG reported 1,300 downed wires and 161 broken poles in our region.