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Hurricane Irene moves up the coast


County under State of Emergency

COLUMBIA COUNTY—With Hurricane Irene headed this way, Valerie Bertram, chair of the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee, declared a State of Emergency for Columbia County as of 2 p.m. Saturday August 27 through 5 p.m. Monday, August 29.

The declaration says that heavy rains and winds will cause hazardous conditions, which will “threaten or imperil the public safety of the citizens of this municipality. There is to be no unnecessary travel during this time period except for Emergency Services and Highway Road Personnel,” says the declaration.

County Director of Emergency Management William Black and Chairperson Bertram announce the opening of the following shelter locations in preparation for the storm. These shelters will be open Saturday night in anticipation of the storm and will remain open as long as necessary:

*Taghkanic Firehouse, Old Route 82, opening at 7:30 p.m.

*Churchtown Firehouse, County Route 27, opening at 9 p.m.

*Copake Community Center, Town Park, 305 Mountain View Road, opening at 7:30 p.m.

*St. Joseph’s Center, off Route 9, Valatie, opening at 7 p.m.

*Tri-Village Firehouse, County Route 13, opening at 7 p.m.

The following will be open tomorrow:

*Hillsdale Firehouse, Route 22, opening August 28 at 8 a.m.

*New Lebanon Firehouse, Route 20, opening at 6 a.m., Sunday August 28 until further notice.

These shelters are equipped with cots, food and water.

If flooding occurs such that an evacuation is necessary for New Lebanon residents in low-lying areas, the New Lebanon Central School District will make buses available to transport residents to a safer area.

The National Weather Service has issued Tropical Storm and Flood warnings for Columbia County and adjacent areas.

The weather service forecasts rain to overspread the area Saturday evening, August 27. The rain will become heavy during the night. Tropical storm force winds in excess of 40 mph will arrive during the morning hours of Sunday, August 28. Winds in excess of 40 mph will continue much of Sunday with gusts to 70 mph possible along with wind driven heavy rains.

The peak impact of the storm will hit Columbia County mid-Sunday through Sunday evening.

The strong winds and heavy rain will lead to downed trees and power lines, with scattered to numerous power outages possible.

Additionally, flooding of main stem rivers and many smaller streams is possible. There will also likely be urban and poor drainage flooding as well as extensive ponding of water on roads and open fields, according to the weather service.

New Lebanon Supervisor Margaret Robertson has declared a State of Emergency from 6 p.m. Saturday, August 27 until 6 p.m. Monday, August 29.

Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin has declared a State of Emergency starting at midnight Saturday night through the end of the day Monday.

Power outages in Ancram are reported on Carson, East Ancram, Roche and Blodgett roads.

The Ancram Highway Department reports that Wiltsie Bridge Road near County Route 3 is closed due to flooding and Undermountain Road is also closed.
Copake Supervisor Reggie Crowley has declared a State of Emergency effective Saturday afternoon, he said in an email.

Supervisor Crowley urged residents to be ready in advance of the storm with flashlights, battery operated radio, extra batteries, First-Aid kit, a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, extra cash (ATM’s don’t work if the power is out), a full vehicle gas tank, fully charged cell phone and to take in all lawn furniture and ornaments.
Call 911 in an emergency, do not go out in the storm unless it’s an emergency and do not drive over downed lines or through flooded roads.
Stay tuned to local radio stations 93.5 FM and 90.7 FM for information on the storm and shelters, said Mr. Crowley.

A major problem will be power outage — the County expects electric power could be disrupted for an extended period, as the area of power outages will be so large that there will not be much mutual aid available to help the power companies get things fixed quickly. Power could be out 3 days to a week in some areas…

Local highway departments and fire companies will not be able to open roads if downed wires are part of the debris blocking a road, until the power company comes in and confirms that the downed wires are not live.
Do not touch or try to move any downed wires on your own. Even if you don’t have power, these downed lines could be live and they can kill you.
The county highway department plans to assist towns with manpower and equipment as needed.
Because of Federal, State & County declarations of state of emergency, whatever we spend preparing for and dealing with the storm is eligible for reimbursement from FEMA, said Mr. Crowley.

Chatham Village Mayor Tom Curran sent out an email advising village residents that “Paul Pratt said the fire department was all prepared, fueled up, pumps at ready. Emergency plans in place. Hopefully, the storm will continue to lose strength. We may lose power for several days. In the Water Department, Chris Sperl was going to top off the water tower to be able to deliver water for a few days even if the power does go out. In Village DPW, Chris said he fueled up all the trucks, got all the
portable pumps ready, and chainsaws tuned up and sharpened. Gullies and ditches have been cleaned in prep.”
The Philmont Farmers Market and the Democratic golf outing for Sunday have been cancelled.

Roeliff Jansen Community Library events: both Elinor’s Walk to Support the Library and BBQ and Boogie at the Park, which were scheduled for Sunday, have been postponed due to the storm. Both will be rescheduled for early October. The specific date will be announced shortly. Check the library website ( for updates.


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