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Ice storm slams Saratoga County

An ice storm that pummeled a multi-state area left the Capital District in disarray on Friday, Dec. 12, hitting areas of Saratoga County especially hard and leaving thousands without power or heat for days.

As Spotlight Newspapers goes to press, most areas have recovered from the worst of the damage and cleanup efforts have begun in earnest. A few thousand are without power, down from 229,000 National Grid-serviced businesses and homes that lost electricity during the peak outages. (New York State Electric and Gas reported 34,000 peak outages.)

For many across the region, the storm, which began the night of Thursday, Dec. 11, forced a very different way of life.

Four states declared states of emergencytwo full and two, including New York, partial. In addition, the towns of Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Stillwater all declared their own states of emergency early on Friday. Damage in those areas of southern Saratoga County was especially intense.

I'd never seen anything like it in a long, long time," said Clifton Park Supervisor Philip Barrett, who likened navigating the blocked roads in his town to running a "serpentine course" early Friday.

Barrett and other town workers manned phones at Town Hall throughout the disaster.

"In a situation like this, you want to reach out and talk to somebody and get an answer," he said.

The town opened up its buildings as warming centers and a Red Cross shelter was soon established at the Shenendehowa Senior Center. Nearby Gowana Middle School opened on Saturday, providing additional cots for those forced out of their darkened homes.

The American Red Cross, Adirondack Saratoga Chapter, ultimately opened four shelters in southern Saratoga County and three in Washington County. All were closed by Wednesday morning. Preliminary numbers from the Red Cross indicated that more than 200 individuals took advantage of the shelters, though not all stayed overnight, and more than 300 meals were served.

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