Winds-day: Gusts down trees, knock out power

Wind topped out at 113 mph on Whiteface Mountain

Colin Miller, left, said he was looking out his front window when he saw cable lines swinging in the wind across Edward Street in Saranac Lake. The three lines were dislodged by the wind but cable connection was only disrupted in one house. Miller took scraps from a yellow tarp and tied it around the wires to alert drivers to the hazard, knowing they were cable lines and safe to touch. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Gusty winds knocked trees down onto electrical lines and roads Wednesday, leading to numerous utility outages throughout the northern Adirondacks.

On Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington and Mount Mansfield in Vermont, measured wind speeds hit 113 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont. In the Jay area, wind speeds topped out at 68 mph. The Tupper Lake region was closer to 42 mph, and Keene stayed below 38 mph.

The Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department responded to many reports of downed trees and power lines in the town of Brighton. With wind speeds reaching 55 miles per hour, trees fell on Keese Mills Road and state Route 30 in Paul Smiths and Hobart Road in Gabriels, according to 1st Lt. Benjamin Tucker. Firefighters closed Keese Mills Road temporarily as they shut off power to the lines and waited for National Grid to respond to the scene. A tree that had fallen on the lines was on fire and knocked out power for hours to residents down the road. Power was restored late in the evening.

According to Nathan Stone, a media representative for National Grid, there were scattered outages in the Paul Smiths area as a result of major lines at a substation being hit by trees, affecting Paul Smith’s College and several other customers.

New York State Electric and Gas customers in Essex County also suffered blackouts. Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said 590 customers in the town of Jay, which includes part of the hamlet of AuSable Forks, and 150 in the town of Chesterfield, which includes part of Keeseville, experienced power outages at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday. Those numbers have since gone down. The number of NYSEG customers experiencing blackouts in all of Essex County was down to 199 by 5 p.m., but as of 9:23 this morning it was back up to 462. Franklin County had 167 NYSEG customers without power this morning.

The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department was also busy responding to downed power lines. A series of downed trees on McKenzie Pond Road knocked out power for 226 customers living between the road and McKenzie Pond Wednesday at 7:52 p.m. Restoration of power has been estimated at 3 p.m. today.

Stone said 15,000 customers were experiencing outages as of this morning throughout the Central New York region — Syracuse to Utica and everything north.

National Grid said it has more than 1,700 workers in the field statewide to deal with the wind damage, but Stone said they need to wait for safe conditions before they start repairing lines. Crews will not send anyone up in bucket trucks until the wind dies down.

“The dangerous weather conditions are expected to continue into Thursday morning, bringing the potential for further service interruptions as the storm makes its way from west to east across the company’s 25,000-square-mile service area,” National Grid said in a press release Wednesday evening.

“As of 5 p.m., approximately 62,000 National Grid customers are without service, primarily in western, central and northern New York. As the storm continues to move east through the evening, the company anticipates areas of the Mohawk Valley and eastern New York will begin to feel its impact.”

Stone urged customers living in remote areas to call National Grid, as the utility may not know of their outage yet. The number is 1-800-867-5222.

Tri-Lakes recap

SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to 12 storm-related calls between 4:39 and 10:20 p.m. Wednesday and at 7:21 through 8:00 Thursday with between eight and 14 members and one truck each. Trees and power lines blocked roads at 18 Trudeau Road, Tadd’s Way, 77 Edward St., 101 Edward St., 102 Edward St., 615 Kiwassa Lake Road, 944 Breezy Acres Road, state Route 30 near Lake Clear, state Route 30 near Coreys Rd., 518 McKenzie Pond Road and 141 Petrova Ave. Members said several of these calls involved trees fallen on power lines that caught fire. Members shut down the power — which usually extinguished the flames — and waited for National Grid.

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department responded to 10 storm-related calls between 4:22 and 11:41 p.m. Wednesday with an average of 19 members and one truck each. Members said there was a combination of downed trees, and power lines on the road, including one tree falling on a house. Members said there was one 30-minute outage.

TUPPER LAKE — The Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to five reports of downed tree and power lines blocking roads between 4:15 and 9:53 p.m. Wednesday, at 31 North Little Wolf Road, 195 Raquette River Drive, state Route 30 near Fish Creek, 67 Haymeadow Rd. and140 Moss Rock Rd.

BLOOMINGDALE — The Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department responded to three storm-related calls between 6:48 and 8:34 p.m. Wednesday, with three to four members and two trucks each. Members waited for National Grid after tree and power lines fell on state Route 3 in Vermontville, removed a tree downed on Oregon Plains Rd. and removed another tree on state Route 3 on their way back to the station.

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