Friday’s storm knocked out power for more than 2 million Americans on the Eastern seaboard, toppling trees and power lines, and has resulted in at least eight deaths — one of them tragically a young boy from Putnam Valley. As many residents struggle to keep warm, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Sunday night throughout Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Sullivan Counties.
Teams are working around the clock to restore power to those still affected, with senior administration officials being posted in each county and the number of New York National Guard members being deployed in aid roles being doubled to 200.
“In the wake of this week’s destructive winter storm, I am declaring a state of emergency across Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Westchester Counties and am doubling the deployment of National Guard members assisting with recovery operations,” Governor Cuomo said at his announcement. “This is an all-hands-on-deck situation and the people of the Hudson Valley should know that New York State is doing everything we can to restore power and help them recover as quickly as possible.”
More than 360,000 New Yorkers lost power during Friday’s storm, with more than 137,000 still dark as of Sunday evening. Of those, 64,621 reside just in Westchester County. While some have gratefully seen power restored, Con Edison still tracks more than 43,000 customers who might not see their heat or lights come on until 11 p.m. Thursday. This might not come soon enough for some residents, as a second winter storm is being forecasted to bring another 6 to 12 inches of snow and below-freezing temperatures beginning late Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday.
The governor’s office reminds Westchesterites of some basic strategies to cope with short-term power outages:
- Notify your provider immediately.
- Use flashlights for emergency lighting as candles can pose a fire hazard.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food left in an unpowered refrigerator for more than 4 hours (or 48 hours for a full freezer) will begin to warm and should be discarded.
- Stay warm by dressing in layers, but be aware and seek medical attention if symptoms of cold stress (hypothermia) appear.