Weather hampers storm recovery

As crews continued to restore power and clean up debris in the wake of a destructive Dec. 11 ice storm, subsequent wind and snow forced additional response from schools, local emergency responders and utility provider National Grid.

Monday, Dec. 15, saw heavy winds that hindered power restoration efforts and added several thousand new outages, according to information from National Grid.

Increasingly strong winds and rain have made field working conditions even more difficult, and continue to pose a threat to already weakened trees and limbs, said Christopher Root, senior vice president of electricity distribution operations.

Guilderland schools were forced into a two-hour delay and morning kindergarten was canceled on Wednesday, Dec. 17, as close to 4 inches of snow coated the already battered Albany County.

Power was restored to most customers by Thursday, Dec. 18, with workers putting in close to 18 hours a day since the storm first hit, according to information provided by National Grid. Although there were more than 800 Guilderland homes and businesses without power on the morning of Dec. 17, that number was down to four by Thursday.

"We continue to be amazed at the extent of the destruction that was wrought by this storm," said Root.

Sean Maguire, the information officer for the Town of Guilderland Fire Chiefs Association said Guilderland's fire departments have been hard at work responding to various emergencies related to the storm effort.

"It was probably one of our busiest couple of days in a long while," Maguire said.

Maguire said the primary function of Guilderland's fire departments has been mitigating hazardous situations such as downed power lines, pumping basements with water damage from shorted sump pumps and responding to a few fires related to improper use of fireplaces.

National Grid issued several recommendations for dealing with emergency situations, including not touching fallen lines because they may still be "live," and using generators outdoors and disconnecting them from National Grid's system so those working on the wires aren't harmed. The utility company also recommended turning off appliances when power goes out, and leaving one light on to gauge when power is restored.

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