ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Severe thunderstorms ripped through several Capital Region communities Wednesday evening, causing widespread power outages, broken tree limbs, blown out roofs, downed wires, among other damages. Electricity companies sent crews to affected areas, but due to the widespread damage, restoration times will vary.
National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said crews are working to restore service to the thousands of customers still affected in Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Montgomery counties. Residents of the counties affected are asked to remain patient while crews continue to work. The work could take up to 48 hours to clear, according to National Grid.
“This is one of the most damaging storms we have seen in eastern New York in a very long time,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s Vice President of New York Electric Operations. “We continue to prioritize public safety as we clean up the widespread damage that includes uprooted trees and downed power lines. In addition to these critical public safety activities, we are assessing the damage to our system and equipment in order to provide estimated restoration times.”
The New York State Electric and Gas Corporation also issued an update on the status of restoration efforts. The Mechanicville Division update on Thursday afternoon listed about 5,400 customers without power in Rensselaer, Columbia, Saratoga, and Washington counties. They expect significant restoration progress throughout the day Thursday.
The consensus from both companies seems to be power outages will continue through most of the day Thursday. While crews are working as quickly as they can, there could be an instance that they have not arrived in your neighborhood.
While power outages can be stressful, here are some things you can do to ensure a safe and quick restoration.
In the case of downed power lines
If you are out and about and you see downed wires, it’s important to stay calm and stay away from a downed power line. NYSEG officials recommend you stay at least 30 feet away from a downed wire.
If a downed wire comes near your car, stay inside and wait or call for help.
In case traffic signals are down
Always treat the intersection as a four way stop. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, if an intersections is not working due to a power outages, drivers must yield just like they are approaching a four-way stop. Even before taking off, proceed with caution to avoid any unwanted accidents.
Ensuring food safety during a power outage
The rule of thumb, if you do not need anything from your refrigerator, keep it closed. Most food will last up to 24 hours in the refrigerator and up to 48 hours in the freezer.
According to the USDA, refrigerators will keep food safe for up to four hours after a power outage. The Centers for Disease Control recommends to throw out any perishable food such as meat, fish, or fruits that are above 40 degrees.
Contact your local municipalities or your electricity provider in case you are experiencing an extreme need for food, they may be able to provide help through a local food bank.
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