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Power out, schools close in wake of ice storm

Thousands of residents lost power from the mid-December ice storm that hit the Capital District and beyond last week as National Grid continues restoring power this week.

The winter storm knocked out power across the Northeast, affecting close to 500,000 homes and businesses, including a number of those in Albany County, according to information provided by National Grid.

National Grid listed Albany County as one of the hardest-hit areas in New York, and residents dealt with power outages and snow removal issues for days after the Thursday, Dec. 11, and Friday, Dec. 12, storm that brought with it sheets of freezing rain.

It is clear that full power may not be restored for several days, National Grid representative Steve Brady said on Saturday, Dec. 13.

National Grid reported more than 240,000 customers lost power in the state, with the most affected areas including the counties of Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Rensselaer. The power and gas company received national support for the restoration effort, with close to 1,000 line and tree contractor crews from states as far away as Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, Baltimore and Philadelphia, coming to assist.

Approximately 250 mutual aid utility crews were sent from Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to support the effort.

Locally, the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland and Colonie opened their doors to the community.

Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham activated the town's emergency management response plan and has opened Town Hall as a warming station for residents.

The Town of Guilderland also opened emergency shelters at the Guilderland Fire Department and the Fort Hunter Fire Department for residents without power on Saturday, Dec. 13.

As part of Bethlehem's emergency response plan, the town's Senior Services Department is contacting seniors to ensure their safety, while Highway and public works crews have been working since late last night to clear roads.

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