Above: A gas station without gas in Fallsburg on Friday, November 2. Photo by Jason Dole.
Thousands of households are still without power today as a Nor'easter bearing six inches of snow heads for the Catskills on Wednesday.
The vast majority of those without electricity or gas are in Sullivan County. There are only scattered gas shortages and power outages elsewhere in the Catskills. 199 households in Delaware and 112 households in Ulster county were still in the dark this morning, according to Delaware County Emergency Services and the Central Hudson and NYSEG outage maps. Greene County officials reported temporary and "scattered" gas shortages over the weekend, and several Watershed Post readers reported that Ulster County gas stations ran low on gas over the weekend. Refills arrived quickly in both counties.
But in Sullivan County, the situation is still dire.
Despite hopes that the majority of Sullivan County residents would get their power turned back on at midnight last night, 5,862 Sullivan County households are still without power this morning, a week after Hurricane Sandy hit the Catskills, according to outage maps from NYSEG and Orange & Rockland Utilities.
And plans for an emergency gas delivery from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for county officials and emergency responders today has been delayed, according to a county press release.
Over the weekend, Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau reported that NYSEG expected the "majority of power restoration" to take place by midnight on Sunday, November 4. But today, NYSEG still has 4,389 households without power -- down from 6,738 yesterday and 11,591 on Saturday morning. O&R has 1,473 Sullivan County outages this morning, down from 2,096 yesterday and 4,425 on Saturday morning.
Sullivan County closed its emergency shelter at Sullivan County Community College (operated by the Red Cross) on Sunday, but in a 5pm update on the county's website, it announced that town officials may open new emergency shelters when tomorrow's storm hits:
Sullivan County officials at the Emergency Operations Center are also planning for possible impacts of a potential Winter Storm that is presently on-track to affect our area Tuesday night through Thursday. Town officials have been contacted to coordinate preparation of warming centers and shelters that may be needed as a result of the incoming storm. However, the storm could change course over the next few days.
Gas shortages have plagued Sullivan County in the wake of the storm, and yesterday Fanslau announced that FEMA would be delivering an emergency shipment of free gas for emergency responders and county officials. This morning, however, Fanslau announced that the emergency gas shipment has been delayed. (See press releases at the bottom of this post.)
Sullivan County voting has been affected by the chaotic aftermath of the storm. Two polling places, in Forestburgh and Willowemoc, have been moved to alternate locations because of power outages. Voting will now take place at the Forestburgh Firehouse instead of the Forestburgh Town Hall, and at the Neversink Firehouse instead of the the Willowemoc Baptist. (See press release below.)
On Saturday, New York State assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott B. Samuelson criticized the response of Sullivan County's utilities in an open letter. (Read the full press release about the letter at the bottom of this post.)
“The Utilities had time to prepare for this storm, but their response indicates that they did not," Gunther wrote in the letter. "There’s a responsibility to the public that needs to be met, and this round-table discussion is about making sure that it is.”
“The workers that have responded to assist our residents are working hard, and we thank them. However, there needs to be a more focused and results oriented response, along with accountability from the Corporate leaders of these companies,” Samuelson wrote in the letter.
Alex Marra, the amateur meteorologist behind the Facebook Page Hudson Valley Weather, predicted on Sunday that the Catskills could receive up to a foot of snow this week:
For starters it should be noted that for any are in the HV above 1000 feet, like most of our towns in the Catskills are. You should be preparing for a significant early season snowstorm. In looking at the latest data it will not be out of the realm of possibilities for some areas in the Catskill to receive over a foot of snow from this system, this will likely be limited to the highest elevations.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton posted a similar warning on its Facebook page today:
[L]ook for a mix of rain and snow to begin entering eastern portions of the forecast area Wednesday afternoon before changing over to all snow Wednesday night. Snowfall totals may range as high as 6+ inches across portions of the Poconos and Catskills[.]
Read the latest shelter and dry ice updates from Sullivan County below:
SULLIVAN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGMENT HURRICANE SANDY RESOURCE UPDATE: vNovember 4, 2012 | 5 :00 PM
NYSEG Dry Ice distribution as follows: (while supplies last)
Liberty Police Department (noon – 7pm)
White Lake Fire Department (noon-7pm)
Monticello Fire Department (1pm-7pm)
Lumberland Town Hall (2pm-4pm)
Village of Woodridge Municipal Hall
Neversink FD (5pm – exhausted)
Claryville FD (ongoing)
Highland Town Hall (ongoing)
Livingston Manor Fire Department
Current Outage Estimates
NYSEG – 6738
O&R – 2096
Central Hudson - 65
Storm Helpline and Resources:
Non-Emergency Trees Down Reporting 845-807-0877
NYS Helpline: 1-888-769-7243
Ted Stroebel Building (Jefferson St, Monticello)
Woobourne Fire House
Forestburgh Fire Department (Shower, charging, water refill, warming, food)
Mamakating Town Park - till 11pm each day (Showers and warming)
Neversink Fire Department (Water refill, warming)
Lumberland Town Hall (8am-5pm)
Thompson Town Hall
Smallwood Fire Department
Liberty Town Library – 10am-4pm (Internet, heat)
Village of Woodridge Municipal Hall (Food, water, warming, dry ice)
Eldred School Sunday noon-8pm (showers – bring your own supplies)
American Legion Ambulance Bldg (showers and food)
Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County, 36 North St Monticello (warming, Sunday and Monday 8 AM to 8 PM, can accommodate 50 people, call to reserve; Connie Keller on Sunday (845)866 8713, or the Literacy Office on Monday 794 0017)
CR 44 – Sackett Lake Rd / Town Forestburg
Hartwood Club Rd
Public works and utilities crews are working together and diligently to get power restored. Power outages continue to be expected to be prolonged and last for several days. Regular updates will be provided throughout the weekend.”
Read the press releases from Sullivan County in full below:
Saturday, November 03, 2012
(Emergency Operations Center, Bethel, NY -5:34 PM) - Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott B. Samuelson today sent an open letter to the Chief Executive Officers of New York State Electric and Gas, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Central Hudson, Time Warner Cable, Verizon Communications, and Frontier Communications, requesting a round-table discussion on the preparedness of the companies on storm response.
“This is not a witch-hunt,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “This is about making sure that the communication between the utility companies, the public, and government officials during Hurricane Sandy is greatly improved for any future natural disaster.” said Gunther. “The Utilities had time to prepare for this storm, but their response indicates that they did not. There’s a responsibility to the public that needs to be met, and this round-table discussion is about making sure that it is.”
“There were positive actions that the County requested from the power companies, which were fulfilled after an original weak response,” said Samuelson. There is a need for a representative of each utility to be present at our Emergency Operations Center during an event to pair public works crews with utility vehicles,” added Samuelson.
“The workers that have responded to assist our residents are working hard, and we thank them. However, there needs to be a more focused and results oriented response, along with accountability from the Corporate leaders of these companies,” concluded Samuelson.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
(Emergency Operations Center, Bethel, NY - 5:30 PM) – Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau issued the following statement: “The federal government has made an arrangement with Sullivan County to provide unleaded fuel for emergency responders personal and official vehicles (fire, EMS, and Police) at no cost for the fuel . Our first shipment will be for 8,000 gallons and it will be made available at two Sullivan County Department of Public Works locations,” said Fanslau.
“FEMA has recognized that it is imperative for County and local government to have the ability to respond to an emergency, and the backbone of that response are our fire and EMS volunteers, along with police and public works personnel,” said Scott B. Samuelson, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature.
Location #1 will be: SCDPW Maplewood Facility, 745 Route. 17B, Mongaup Valley, NY. Hours will be Sunday night, November 4, 2012 from 7 PM to 10 PM, and Monday November 5, 2012 from 8:00 AM until the supply is depleted. Location #2 will be: SCDPW Facility 450 State Rt. 55, Barryville, NY Hours will be on Monday 11-5-12 from 8 AM till supply is depleted.
This unleaded fuel will be available at no cost, and limited to one vehicle per responder, and driver will be able to receive a full tank. No portable tanks will be filled. Each driver must show a Sullivan County Accountability card or police ID card, or a County Government identification for public works and 911 departments.
“We may be receiving more fuel in the next few days, and will announce the plans for receiving that shipment when it is known, “concluded Fanslau.
Monday, November 05, 2012
(Emergency Operations Center, Bethel, NY 10:00am) - Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau issued the following statement: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s delivery of gasoline has been delayed, and the fueling program has been suspended until the FEMA fuel arrives. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services had arranged for Sullivan County to receive 8,000 gallons of gas from Ft. Dix late Sunday afternoon. The NYSHSES Fuel Task Force stated this morning that while the feds (DLA) had indicated fuel "was enroute" to Ft. Dix, the shipment has been delayed. The Fuel Task Force is working the issue to get the fuel to Sullivan County. Sullivan County has made plans to accommodate the fuel for dispensing to the emergency services personnel. Once the fuel arrives, an announcement will be made to the emergency services personnel.
The County is also preparing for an expected Nor’easter that may impact the area on Wednesday and Thursday. The fuel supply for responding to that event will need to be sufficient,” said Fanslau.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
(Emergency Operations Center, Bethel, NY - 2:30 PM) – Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau issued the following statement: “The Commissioners of the Sullivan County Board Office Elections has all 63 election districts and all 39 poll sites set for the General Election on Tuesday November 6, 2012. There were two (2) poll site changes necessary to accomplish this. The poll site at Forestburgh Town Hall was moved to the Forestburgh Firehouse, and the poll site has been moved from the Willowemoc Baptist church to the Neversink Firehouse. Both of these changes were due to the lack of power at the original sites, caused by Hurricane Sandy.”