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Sandy spares area

Local officials say storm proved to be good test of readiness

Volunteers move equipment from the stage at Freedom Park in Scotia on Saturday, Oct. 27, and make final preparations before Hurricane Sandy struck on Monday, Oct. 29.

Volunteers move equipment from the stage at Freedom Park in Scotia on Saturday, Oct. 27, and make final preparations before Hurricane Sandy struck on Monday, Oct. 29. Submitted photo by Bill Pytlovany

— Hurricane Sandy brought flooding to coastal cities, left millions powerless and caused billions of dollars in damages, but in the Capital District the impact paled in comparison to the devastation wrought by last year’s Tropical Storm Irene.

Most residents woke up on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to little changed from the night before, as the actual effects of Hurricane Sandy ended up being far from dire forecasts. Wind blew across the Capital District but at lower speeds than predicted, and rainfall was not a major issue. The majority of residents in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties didn’t lose electricity.

National Gird spokesman Patrick Stella said about 37,000 area customers had lost electricity at the peak of the storm on Monday, Oct. 29. During Irene, as many as 156,000 customers were without power at one time. The ice storm in 2008 was even worse, with around 220,000 customers affected.

Stella said the brunt of the storm missed most in the Capital District.

“The wind happened to not be as severe here in Upstate New York,” Stella said. “Most of (the damage) occurred last night, however we have seen some additional outages today (Tuesday) with the continuation of the wind. We are hoping to get the majority of the customers back by the end of the day today.”

Before the storm hit, National Grid secured more than 800 line and tree crewmembers to be deployed across Upstate New York. The typical schedule for a worker is 18 hours on and 6 hours off during a disaster or emergency situation, he said.

“We were adequately prepared for this, as we finish these restorations we are sending these crews Downstate,” Stella said.

During Monday night, Stella said crews were deployed to do ground work due to concerns about high winds. Once the winds tapered down on Tuesday morning, bucket crews started to work on power lines.

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