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Storm blasts Warren, Hamilton, Saratoga counties, too

Highway workers look over a washed-out section of Route 8 near Graphite in the town of Hague around Halloween. (Photo provided)

High winds and flooding were expected to be problems through Friday night and into Saturday, and some homes along the Hudson River in Warren County were being evacuated as of mid-morning Friday.

Thousands remained without electricity as of early afternoon, as Warren, Saratoga, Hamilton and Essex counties supervisors declared states of emergency because of the extent of damage. No injuries were reported, but numerous homes in Warren County were cut off by washouts or flooding, temporarily stranding residents.

Town, county and state highway crews were working to get temporary repairs made to reopen roads as quickly as possible.

“We are looking at millions and millions of dollars in damage,” Bolton Supervisor Ronald Conover, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said of the problems in Warren County.

Conover said Johnsburg appeared hardest hit, and other towns in the north end of the county, including Hague, Horicon and Chester, had extensive damage as well.

Johnsburg Supervisor Andrea Hogan said town officials were aware of 28 damaged roads as of late Friday afternoon, with numerous residents stranded by the damaged roads.

“It’s massive, massive damage,” she said. “All of our emergency crews and highway guys have been going nonstop. We need people to be patient and understand we are working hard to put it all back together again.”

Warren County Public Works Superintendent Kevin Hajos said his department hoped to have Olmstedville Road in Pottersville reopened late Friday, but county highways elsewhere, such as Thirteenth Lake Road, New Hague Road and Trout Brook Road, were going to take extensive work. He estimated 300 to 500 feet of Trout Brook Road was washed out in one area.

He said some weather observers logged more than 5 inches of rain falling in Johnsburg overnight.

High volumes of water from heavy rain that careened down hills and mountains was to blame for much of the road damage.

Brian Montgomery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said the agency has been scrambling to review damage reports. But the combination of high winds and heavy rain bands led to major damage around upstate New York.

“It was horrific what occurred last night,” he said.

Emergency declarations

In all, 11 counties in New York had declared emergencies because of the storm, from western New York to the Adirondacks.

The emergency declaration does not restrict resident travel, but Amy Drexel, Warren County’s deputy emergency services director, said those who are out should watch for falling trees and downed lines. It will make the counties eligible for possible federal aid in the future, and allows highway crews to take necessary action without permits to repair roads.

Hudson River flooding was a major concern in Warren and Saratoga counties, but Drexel said the river was expected to crest later Friday.

Emergency responders were running from call to call throughout Friday as high winds continued to bring down trees, branches and electric lines.

The National Grid website initially showed 3,300 customers without power in Washington County, 2,300 in Warren County and more than 4,000 in northern and central Saratoga County. But that number had fallen to about 3,500 in Warren and Washington counties as of mid-morning. As of about 7 p.m. Friday, the totals had changed to 1,659 in Washington County, 4,053 in Warren County, more than 21,200 in Saratoga County, 3,723 in Essex County and 3,905 in Hamilton County.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said the company had 175,000 outages statewide from the storm, and 75,000 of them had power restored as of mid-morning. The company had 2,300 line workers on duty to deal with them.

Restoration is expected for most later Friday, but some outages were expected to linger into Saturday.

NYSEG reported nearly 500 customers with outages in Washington and Saratoga counties as of Friday morning. A spokesman for the company said more outages were expected during the day Friday, as strong winds pushed trees that are in soil that was weakened by the amount of rain that fell, increasing the chances for them being toppled. By Friday evening, NYSEG was reporting 1,147 outages in Washington County and 54 in Saratoga County.

Road closures

Washington County dispatchers reported several secondary roads closed because of downed trees or power lines, but no closures on major roads as of 5:30 a.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts topping 50 mph in parts of the region as the worst of the storm moved through between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. and again later Friday as the storm moved out.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office website showed nearly 50 storm-related calls in five hours overnight, including reports of trees falling on homes in Queensbury and Lake Luzerne.

Southern Hamilton County, just west of Warren County, received over 5 inches of rain in 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’ve got a lot of washouts. Highway crews are all over dealing with them,” Warren County Emergency Services Coordinator Brian LaFlure said.

Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson said a number of roads in his town were closed or reduced to one lane as of 8 a.m. Friday.

“We had a lot of water damage, a lot of washouts and craters in roads. A lot of roads are down to one lane,” he said.

Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett said the Hudson River had cut off homes on East Hudson River Drive, forcing at least one evacuation.

The towns of Schroon and North Hudson had numerous roads closed, including Alder Meadow Road, Shore Road, part of River Road, Miller Road, Adirondack Road and Crane Pond Road in Schroon, and Blue Ridge Road and North Hudson Road in North Hudson. The Sunoco station off Exit 29 of the Northway was flooded by the Schroon River.

Schroon town Clerk Patricia Savarie said most of the town is without power.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve never seen this,” Savarie said.

A Warren County dispatcher reported numerous secondary road closures because of washouts and downed trees, with the agency’s website showing Route 8 in Horicon and Hague being affected overnight as well as Bartman Road, Thirteenth Lake Road, Garnet Lake Road, Igerna Road, Olmstedville Road and Fox Lane, among others, in Johnsburg and Chester.

Part of Route 9N between Bolton and Hague was also washed out, and numerous roads in Hadley and Day had culverts washed out as well.

Residents of Stephen Lane in Lake Luzerne were evacuating as of 9:30 a.m. when the Hudson River jumped its banks and flooded their neighborhood. A number of other riverside roads in Lake Luzerne were also underwater by early afternoon.

Numerous local school districts, including Hudson Falls, Hadley-Luzerne, North Warren, Johnsburg and SUNY Adirondack, did not open Friday because of weather problems.

A high wind warning was in effect for the region until 8 p.m. Friday as temperatures dropped, with cold weather expected through the weekend.

Flood warnings are in effect for the Hudson River in North Creek, Hadley and Fort Edward, the Schroon River in Warrensburg and the Mettawee River in Granville, where minor to moderate flooding is expected when rivers crest by early Saturday.

Major flooding is predicted for the Sacandaga River in southern Hamilton County.

The Hudson River in North Creek was more than 2 feet above flood stage as of noon Friday, and still rising.

The National Weather Service reported parts of southern Hamilton and Herkimer counties received more than 5.5 inches of rain late Thursday and early Friday. Parts of southern Warren County got over 3 inches, including 3.05 inches reported in Queensbury, and 2.8 inches in Lake Luzerne, according to the National Weather Service.

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