NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two days after a deadly nor’easter lashed much of the East Coast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in four Hudson Valley counties as Tri-State Area residents continued to clean up and survey the damage caused by the storm.
ConEdison said as of 8:45 p.m. on Sunday approximately 46,600 customers remained without power in Westchester, with communities like New Rochelle and Yorktown the hardest hit. Downed trees draped over power lines, creating a disaster for repair crews and homeowners alike.
Counting its customers in New York City’s outer boroughs, ConEd said Friday’s nor’easter is the fifth most severe storm in company history based on the number of customers affected.
The utility said it has around 700 workers on hand, plus 100 support staff, involved in restoration, line repair, site safety and planning. The company has also arranged for more than 400 additional workers from as far away as Canada, Texas and Wisconsin to help with the Westchester restoration.
ConEd said it hopes to have 90 percent of the outages fixed by late Tuesday night.
Despite the apparent progress being made by both ConEd and New York State Electric and Gas, which reported more than 22,000 outages late Sunday night, Westchester County Executive George Latimore said both companies may have been caught off guard by the storm.
“I certainly believe the two utility companies were not prepared for this,” Latimore said. “If you know when in advance and plan in advance then you staff your organization with that thought in mind, and it’s all hands on deck and you send requests for mutual aid out sooner.”
All over Westchester, residents’ nerves are frayed, but many said they understand what the utilities are up against.
“We were living in the city during Sandy and had no power outages. One of the few. Now, we’re finding out what it’s like. It’s no fun,” Valhalla resident Nathan Reiska told CBS2’s Erin Logan.
New Rochelle resident Rochelle Turetsky certainly agreed.
“We have absolutely had enough. We’re cold, we’re tired, or wet. Our basement has water in it,” Turetsky said. “ConEd is working so very hard, so we’re very grateful for everyone pulling their weight.”
Maritza Segarra said she was watching TV during Friday’s storm when suddenly a tree came crashing through her New Rochelle home.
“I was sitting in my TV room and I hear this ‘thump,’ and I see this branch on the back side of the house where I was sitting, and I came to the front of the house and this is what I saw,” she told CBS2. “It was very scary.”
It was a similar sight from southern Westchester to Queens, with massive trees crushing cars and snapping power lines. Many have been without power since Friday.
“It’s dark and it’s cold and we’re picking up food out and going to the library to get internet in, charge up,” Larchmont resident Liz Ward said.
Repair crews had their hands full across the region.
“Job after job after job,” Town of Mamaroneck arborist Esteban Nava said.
ConEdison said overhead electrical systems have to co-exist with tall trees in many of the Tri-State’s northern communities, sometimes creating a mess after severe weather. If things don’t get back to normal soon, Ward said she and her family are considering a temporary move.
“Go to a hotel and board the dog if it’s still out on Sunday night,” she said.
Cuomo pledged an additional 100 members of the New York National Guard to assist in the recovery in Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck situation and the people of the Hudson Valley should know that New York State is doing everything we can to restore power and help them recover as quickly as possible,” Cuomo said.
Crews were out and about all day Sunday hoping to get everything back up and running as soon as possible. Lingering hazards include sideways, tangled trees like the one that CBS2’s Dave Carlin saw across Putnam County’s Horton Hollow Road on Sunday. Homeowner Jake Coombs made sure drivers could more clearly spot the dangers.
“I put the caution tape up,” Coombs said. “There’s four more trees down on the road up there.”
Other residents did their part as well, but did so mindful of warnings to avoid live wires and other hazards.
“My dad actually went to the end of this road because a tree was blocking the end of this one and he just pushed it off to the side with his machine,” Putnam Valley resident Lauren Landi told CBS2’s Carlin.
Putnam Valley’s Deputy Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi said residents are struggling with the tragic death of an 11-year-old boy who was killed after a tree fell on his house on Friday.
“They know the community is here for them,” Annabi said.