Wading through roiling floodwaters, Warren County Sheriff's officers knock at a door of a home in the "Big Hollow" off Rte. 9 north of Lake George village in an effort to tell residents to evacuate their home. Authorities said a nearby resident of a trailer (at left in photo) refused to leave, al;though floodwaters were tearing away at her trailer's foundation and running through her home
As utility workers worked feverishly to repair dozens of downed power lines and burned-out transformers in the region damaged by Tropical Storm Irene — and Lake George Village remained without power — local municipal authorities met Monday morning to devise an emergency action plan.
National Grid representatives said Monday morning the storm damage to power lines and equipment was so widespread in the region that most of the work was at this point primarily assessing the extent of the outage.
National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said that in the company’s territory in eastern/central New York, 140,000 households and businesses lost power Sunday due to the storm, and of these, 120,000 remained without power at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
“We made a little bit of progress overnight,” Stella said. “We’ll be working on power restorations throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and we’ll continue for as long as it takes.”
Stella said about 700 line crews, or nearly 3,000 utility repair workers, were at on duty — most all through the night — assessing damage or attempting to restore power. The crews were working on 16 to 18 hour shifts.
As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, still lacking power were 17,400 homes and businesses in Warren County, 21,000 in Saratoga County, 4,900 in Essex County, and 3,3000 in Washington County, Stella said.
“One of the big challenges is flooding, as there are still a lot of road closures, and travel to the affected sites will be challenging,” he said, adding that company officials are warily watching waterways near substations due to potential flooding.
Utility crews were brought in from as far away as Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee to work on restoring power, he said.
The Lake George Village Hall was dark Monday morning, but the town hall was fully operational due to its generator backup system.
Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy said early Monday that highway workers of both the town and village were busy working to clean up the debris on roadways, which included downed limbs, gravel and silt. Tons of sand and gravel was deposited on several roads including Rte. 9 north of the village and Dieskau St. downtown, when the roadways were turned into rushing rivers as floodwaters veered out of stream beds.
Rte. 9 north of the village, and Rte. 9 south of Northway Exit 21 remained closed to traffic mid-morning Monday. The northern stretch is due to the deposited debris, and the southern sector is due to the pavement being washed out near Magic Forest. Also, Rte. 9N north of the village, known locally as Bolton Road, was also closed due to a washout and the destabilized condition of Rte. 9N bridge over English Brook. That stream was 15 feet over its normal level and turned into a river in Sunday’s flooding, ripping through homes, motels, various other properties and roadways.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais, reached at 9:40 a.m. in the darkened village hall, warned there was now limited access to Lake George Village.
‘The only way in or out of the village is from Luzerne Road and the Northway,” he said.
Blais added that English Brook floodwaters broke a water main at the north end of the village, that served about a dozen households. He said work was progressing on repairs. All village-owned roads, he said, were now open, with the exception of Bradley Street.
Village Sewer Plant Operator Tim Shudt reported that tank trucks were routinely pumping out sewage from the municipal Sewell Street municipal pump station, which has no backup generation.
Blais said Shephard Park beach and Lake Avenue beach were closed until further notice due to the flooding.
He also said that four of the village’s six public docks were destroyed by high waves kicked up by the high winds of Sunday’s storm. The two new ones, just christened this year, remain intact, he said. The Warren County sheriff’s docks also remain in one piece and in place, he said.
Town Supervisor Frank McCoy praised the public employees, volunteers and utility workers who responded Sunday and Monday.
“Our sincere thanks go out to the Lake George firefighters, Emergency Squad responders and local highway workers for all they’ve accomplished during the storm and its aftermath,” McCoy said.