ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On Monday, thousands of Monroe County residents were still without power following powerful wind storms over the weekend.
On Saturday, wind gusts in many areas peaked between 60 and 76 miles per hours in the region, cutting off power, downing trees, and leading to travel advisories. RG&E said 53,000 of its customers were impacted by the storm, with more than 3,000 still without power Monday night.
“This storm that came through this weekend was extremely destructive. It knocked down 600 downed wires, more than 100 broken poles, caused extensive tree damage. So there’s been a big cleanup effort that our crews have been undergoing since Saturday,” said Sarah Warren, the Corporate Communications Manager with RG&E.
Warren said crews have been working around the clock since the storm, with the most damage being seen in Greece and the west-side of Rochester.
“Since Saturday our crews has been what we call “make safes”, so guarding down wires, clearing roads, cleaning up debris, and we’ve also been restoring customers so that’s included setting new poles, hanging new wire, and fixing broken equipment and detangling a lot of trees that ended up in our wires,” Warren said.
To help those without power, communities held dry ice and water distribution sites on Monday. One of the events was held in Greece.
“I am glad the town is doing this. I am very grateful. But probably a good time to distribute the dry ice might be before the power went out to begin with, so we can protect ourselves because we knew the storm was coming, it’s part of storm preparation,” said Chuck Hauser, a Greece resident.
Hauser and his wife say they have been without power for roughly 48 hours. They said they have had to throw out food, spend money going out to eat, and stay with their son in Syracuse.
“I used to be a scout leader. We do camp-outs in the cold so we have all kinds of good, heavy gear for cold,” Hauser said. “Mostly I’m worried about my neighbors who aren’t prepared. We know how to handle the cold and snuggle up in the blankets.”
Other places opened up warming centers, like at The David F. Gantt R-Center, which opened Sunday night and is closing Monday night. The Red Cross Western New York Chapter was there to assist.
“It was a safe place for people who couldn’t handle it staying at home or didn’t have other resources, whether friends or family, that they could come in, have a warm, safe place to stay,” said Bill Platt, the Disaster Program Specialist with the American Red Cross-Greater Rochester Chapter.
Platt said they have provided families with meals and a place to sleep, including for one family with a 9-day-old baby.
“We are so happy that we were able to give them a really nice safe place to stay in overnight where they didn’t have to worry about being cold and and being outside or anything like that,” Platt said.
The Red Cross says the storm is an important reminder for people to always have a plan in place in case of bad weather.
“Have a kit of supplies ready in case they need to leave, medication, and some food and blankets. and those contact numbers, a way to charge their cell phone…which is so common today,” Platt said.
RG&E says they hope to have 95% of impacted customer’s power restored by 11:30 p.m. on Monday. However, they encouraged residents to still be on the look out for downed wires.
“If they do see a downed wire, because we still have quite a few out there, to please stay away. Keep children, pets away. It should be treated as a live wire and as a very dangerous situation, so we’d ask you to either report it to 9-1-1 or to call RG&E and report the downed wire,” Warren said.
As of 1:30 p.m. on Monday, the National Grid said 19-hundred of its customers were without power, but they plan to have everyone’s power restored by Tuesday. Dave Bertola, the National Grid Spokesman, said they have 3,300 crews across Western New York assisting people.
For any residents in need of shelter or other assistance in Monroe County, they can call 2-1-1. If you’re looking for ways to help, the Red Cross says you can sign up to be a volunteer at redcross.org.