By nightfall Friday, the number of power outages in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties was down to about 5,450 and dropping.
And those outages were expected to continue decreasing through the weekend, as crews from the three utilities that serve the mid-Hudson continue to repair damage from Tuesday’s storm that pummeled the region.
On Friday, Orange and Rockland Utilities spokesman Mike Donovan said the company is still estimating it will be Sunday afternoon before all of Sullivan County’s electricity customers are back online. The two utilities that serve Sullivan - O&R and NYSEG - had a combined total of about 4,300 out late Friday.
Donovan said the National Weather Service confirmed Thursday night that destructive, straight-line 95 mph winds extending 16 miles from Narrowsburg to Eldred to Forestburgh carved a path of destruction in the county at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The powerful winds flattened trees, shattered utility poles and snapped power lines.
Donovan said O&R sent a fresh shipment of about 6,000 pounds of dry ice to Mamakating Town Hall at 2948 Route 209 in Wurtsboro on Friday.
A majority of the O&R company and contractor overhead line and tree removal crews have been assigned to Sullivan County to expedite repair work.
On Friday, Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek extended the state of emergency through the weekend for the towns of Highland and Tusten. The emergency declaration expires at 5 p.m. Friday for the towns of Bethel, Cochecton and Forestburgh, based on conversations with their supervisors.
In Orange County, O&R, NYSEG and the other utility that serves Orange County, Central Gas & Electric Corp., had a combined total of about 980 out late Friday. Most of those were expected to see service restored Friday or Saturday. Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian said the utility has already exceeded its goal to have 90 percent of all customers’ power restored by 11 p.m. Friday.
Central Hudson has 470 line workers and 180 tree trimmers, including outside contractors and mutual aid workers from other power companies from as far away as Michigan, working to restore power. While workers for other companies could be recalled if needed in their own regions, right now all are able to work through the weekend, working on repairs in isolated areas that suffered the most damage, Maserjian said.
Late Friday, NYSEG said it expects to have power restored to the vast majority of all its customers in the six counties it serves by 11:45 p.m. Saturday. The exceptions will be a few small pockets of customers in highly damaged areas that require rebuilding of customer and company infrastructure, the utility said.
NYSEG said it has more than 1,800 personnel responding to the storm.