Powerful winter storm wreaks havoc across North Salem Friday


Photo by Courtney Chestnut for Unsplash

North Salem’s all-volunteer first responder crews are having a busy morning. By 9:00 a.m. Friday, nearly a dozen emergency calls had been placed in the wake of a powerful winter storm system that brought rain and gusty winds overnight and into the early morning hours. Downed trees and wires on roadways, including some that caught fire, have sent crews scrambling to locations all over town.

North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas reported that 22 locations in town had trees down on wires early Friday. He added that 15,000 customers in NYSE&G’s Brewster division are without power

In preparation for the storm, NYSE&G pre-staged additional line and tree personnel on Thursday to assist with restoration efforts, according to a company spokesperson. Over 330 crews were in place throughout the state as of Thursday afternoon. Still, Lucas said there were not enough crews to tackle the amount of work needed throughout the area. “We have requested a tree and line crew on each line but they do not have sufficient people in the area to handle the work,” Lucas wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

NYSE&G customers can sign up for outage alerts via the NYSE&G website or stay up-to-date via the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The North Salem Central School District canceled classes Friday due to the storm. Students will return to school on Tuesday, January 3. 

On Thursday, Governor Hochul declared a statewide state of emergency ahead of the storm. “With Mother Nature throwing everything she has at us this weekend, I encourage New Yorkers who are considering traveling for the holidays to do so before Friday or after Sunday to stay safe," Hochul said. "Our agencies are well prepared, coordinated and ready to deploy assets and equipment if needed to respond to the storm. We want all New Yorkers to get where they need to go safely to celebrate the holidays with loved ones."

What to do if you encounter downed wires

  • Stay at least 30 feet from a downed power line.
  • If a downed wire comes in contact with your vehicle, stay inside and wait for help. If you must get out because of fire or other danger, jump clear of the vehicle to avoid any contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and hop with feet together or shuffle away; don’t run or stride.
  • NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations.
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