States of emergency were declared in two Columbia County towns after strong winds uprooted trees, left hundreds without power and flipped over a truck on Route 22. A 36-hour state of emergency was declared in Copake early Monday afternoon, Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer said. A state of emergency was also declared in Ancram, according to a statement from Ancram Town Supervisor Arthur J. Bassin. Hundreds of New York State Electric & Gas customers in Columbia County were without power Monday, including more than 700 in Copake, more than 650 in Old Chatham, over 300 in New Lebanon and scores of others in Canaan, Austerlitz, Ghent, Craryville and Hillsdale, according to NYSEG’s electrical outage map.
Customers remained without power into Monday evening. New York State Electric & Gas did not provide a time table of when power would be restored.
“Power has been out for several hours,” Copake resident Louise Miller said. “You need a generator out here — when power goes out, it stays out for a while.”
Miller gathered felled branches on her property after the howling wind died down.
“[The wind] sounded like a train coming through the house this morning,” she said. Nearly 630 residents in parts of Greenport, Hudson, Livingston and Germantown were without power Monday, according to National Grid’s electrical outage map. Power was restored to National Grid customers by Monday evening. Central Hudson listed no power outages in Columbia County as of press time Monday. “We’re in a very high-wind area,” Nayer said. “There’s trees down all over the town. We declared [the state of emergency] for the whole town. Shingles are ripping off roofs, trees in the road, it’s a mess.”
A strong wind gust flipped over a tractor-trailer on its side on Route 22 in Copake, where the wind sweeps off the mountain into the flats, said Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett. Wind knocked over another truck in the same spot a few years ago, Bartlett said.
“The wind gets going in this corridor and it gets pretty hairy,” he said.
The wind-blown truck was on its side Monday afternoon as police closed the road. The driver sustained minor injuries, Bartlett said, adding extra deputies were stationed in the area overnight.
Margaret Lesterhoiser stood outside her home Monday as firemen investigated a leaking propane tank damaged by a fallen tree.
“We may have to leave the property if it’s not safe,” she said as firemen filed in and out of the backyard. Her husband, Bucky Lesterhoiser, checked on homes throughout the day as a member of the Taconic Shores Property Owner Association, she said.
Several Copake roads were littered with tree limbs Monday afternoon, downed tree trunks and power lines and some rooftops crushed under the weight of fallen trees. As children filed off the school bus, Bartlett stopped to warn them to stay away from power lines on the ground.
“You have to back up everything when you live in the country,” Copake property owner Doris Shaw said. “The winds are devastating to people, and the season has been bad this year in the valley.”
“This morning, they said the wind was so bad you couldn’t stand up,” Bartlett said. “The firehouse was shaking.” Ancram’s state of emergency will expire at midnight Wednesday, according to Bassin’s statement. In the meantime, the supervisor urged the public to avoid unnecessary travel. “We have to assess all the damage,” Nayer said. “We’re trying to keep people off the road and clear the road so people can get through.” Highway department crews and Columbia County Sheriff’s officers workede to keep residents safe and clean up debris, Nayer said. A state of emergency is declared to alert residents of dangerous weather conditions and help municipalities apply for state or federal funds for cleanup or damaged property, Bartlett said Monday. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deployed an emergency management team and emergency facility at the Copake Firehouse, he said. Bartlett is requesting residents to call National Grid’s hotline at 1-800-867-5222 in case of a power outage, or call 911 in case of an emergency.