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Tropical Storm Isaias hits Lower Hudson Valley: Thousands without power; roads closed

Isabel Keane Sophie Grosserode
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

UPDATE: Isaias: More than 200,000 still without power, utilities say could be days for return

Tropical Storm Isaias made its way through the Lower Hudson Valley Tuesday afternoon. 

Power outages were reported across the region and dozens of downed trees and wires blocked roadways. Damage was been spotted across Westchester and Rockland counties. 

A tropical storm warning, including a tornado watch, was put in effect until at least 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

The height of the storm, and most of the damage, came between 1 and 3:30 p.m. Westchester County Executive George Latimer warned in an afternoon news conference that those living in shore communities and south of I-287 would see a greater effect of the storm.

Heavy rain and winds were expected to continue through the evening, bringing anywhere from two to four inches of rain. Low lying areas along the Sound Shore were at risk of flooding, and the possibility of scattered thunderstorms and tornadoes continued into the evening, according to AccuWeather. 

UPDATE: Isaias: More than 200,000 still without power, utilities say could be days for return

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: List of phone numbers for utilities, transit and relief agencies

PHOTOS: See what the storm damage looks like 

No tornadoes have touched down in the area yet, Latimer said, but these conditions would allow for them to. 

Here's what we know about Tropical Storm Isaias in Westchester County:

Power outages 

According to the Con Ed storm center, 95,592 customers in Westchester were out of service by 5:45 p.m. 

The hardest hit communities were Briarcliff Manor, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Harrison, Mount Vernon, Greenburgh, Yonkers and Yorktown, according to a news release. The company did not have an estimate for when power would be restored, but said in a release that they would be assessing damage as soon as it is safe and bringing in 220 additional workers to help restore power.

"Crews will give priority to making repairs that will provide power to the most customers quickly, then restore smaller groups and individual customers," the release said.

Village officials in Croton-on-Hudson opened a room in their Municipal Building to the public as a "charging center," reporting that about 1,700 of their residents were without power.

Over 204,000 Con Ed customers in Westchester and New York City lost power by late afternoon. 

A huge tree was pulled out of the ground and crushed a minivan on Hayward Street in Yonkers, August 4, 2020.

About 62,425 customers in Rockland are out of power, according to Orange and Rockland Utilities. About 150,000 customers are out of power throughout the company's service area, which includes Orange, Rockland, and Sullivan counties in New York, and Bergen, Passaic, and Sussex counties in New Jersey.

“This is only second to Superstorm Sandy,” O&R spokesman Micheal Donovan said. 

“We’re telling our customers to prepare for an extended outage."

The utility is working overnight to assess damage and addressing public safety issues, Donovan said. The utility will have a better assessment of when power could be restored by late Wednesday.

Donovan said 100 contractors have come to the area from Mississippi and 50 more from Pittsburgh. The utility is looking to hire some 750 more overhead line technician contractors to help out in their coverage area. 

New York State Electric & Gas listed 33,336 customers in Putnam County without power and 28,209 in Westchester by 4:30 p.m. According to the company's press release, the hardest hit area was the Brewster division, and the release warned that"Given the degree of damage, some customers should plan to be without power for a significant length of time." 

Central Hudson reported approximately 23,000 customers without power, with damage locations mostly in Orange and southern Dutchess counties.

The storm may have passed but Donovan said it still poses danger. “Stay away from downed wires,” he said, and warned that more wires could come down as broken tree limbs fall. “Look up and look down,” he said.

What roads are closed 

The Bronx River Parkway is closed in two locations, Latimer said. 

As of 1:30 p.m. it is closed going southbound between Scarsdale Road in Yonkers to South Desmond Avenue, where the Sprain Parkway rejoins the Bronx River Parkway. Due to construction going on in that area of the road it is impossible for the road to drain, Latimer said. 

Fallen trees block Rt. 304 northbound in West Nyack Aug. 4, 2020. Traffic was able to squeeze by on the left shoulder.

The Bronx River Parkway is also closed between the County Center and the Main Street exit in White Plains, Latimer said. 

All three lanes of the Saw Mill River Parkway going northbound are blocked by a downed tree between the Bronx-Westchester County Line and the Cross County Parkway, Exit 4 in Yonkers.

All lanes are blocked on I-684 going northbound between the Westchester County Airport and NY 22 in North Castle.

On I-287 northbound, the exit ramp at Tarrytown is blocked by downed trees.

Ramapo police reported that Route 306 would be closed “for an extended period of time” between Grandview Ave and Windmill Drive after a tree fell on a vehicle. Police said there  were no injuries but there were active burning wires. Hillcrest Fire Department was at the scene.

Road, transportation and other closures

Hazardous conditions, downed trees and fallen wires closed roads around Westchester and Rockland counties, including two locations on the Bronx River Parkway, all lanes of the Saw Mill River Parkway going northbound in Yonkers, a section of I-684 in North Castle, an exit ramp on I-287, a section of Route 306 in Ramapo and dozens of others that remained closed after the storm had passed.

Around 2:45 p.m., the Metro-North Railroad suspended service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines due to hazardous conditions. Limited outbound service resumed on the Hudson line resumed after 8:30 p.m., and service was still suspended for Harlem and New Haven lines as crews worked to repair “extensive damage” sustained during high winds and rains.

Fallen trees block Rt. 304 northbound in West Nyack Aug. 4, 2020. Traffic was able to squeeze by on the left shoulder.

Westchester's Bee-Line and ParaTransit buses experienced system-wide delays into the evening due to blocked roads.

All county beaches and pools were closed today, Latimer said, as well as the outdoor testing for coronavirus at tents on Glen Island and at Westchester Medical Center.

Commercial flights out of Westchester County Airport were already suspended during the month of August due to the coronavirus, not the weather.