May 21, 2019

Storm blows through

Powerful wind tosses debris on truck, closes school

Shenendoah Briere/contributing photographer

Cortland City police responded Monday morning to the intersection of Main Street and Clinton Avenue after strong winds blew debris from the Key Bank building at 1 N. Main St. onto a truck traveling down Clinton Avenue. No injuries were reported but the truck sustained damage to the windshield and passenger side.

The occupants of a truck driving down Clinton Avenue were OK this morning after debris flew off the Key Bank building at 1 N. Main St. and struck the windshield and passenger side of the vehicle.

Strong winds are expected to last until 7 p.m. So far, they have caused outages, delays and tough travel.

Police did not identify the occupants of the car, but said no one was injuried. Dispatchers received the call at 8:13 a.m. as bricks flying off a building, but a Cortland City fire official said it was roofing material.

“Use proper caution, it’s upstate New York in February,” Cortland County Emergency Response Director Scott Roman said. Dispatchers have “heard of numerous trees and power lines down.”

More than 65,000 people were without power across upstate New York. An 86 mph gust was recorded Sunday on Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Niagara Falls saw gusts of 74 mph and Buffalo saw 69 mph winds.

Roman said both National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas Corp. are responding.

There are 103 customers without power in Cortland County, according to National Grid’s power outage map around 9 a.m. NYSEG reported four outages for Cortland County around 9 a.m. NYSEG also reported 14 in Tompkins County around 9 a.m.

A high-wind warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service in Binghamton. Westward winds from 30 to 45 mph are expected, with possible gusts up to 60 mph — just shy of hurricane force winds at 74 mph.

The weather service reported wind gusts of 53 to 59 mph in Cortland County at 9:30 this morning.

A high temperature near 28 degrees is forecast, according to the weather service. However, wind chills could be as low as zero.

No major roads have needed to close, Roman added.

Cincinnatus School District was on a two-hour delay this morning and DeRuyter School District closed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned empty tractor-trailers from portions of the state Thruway and interstates. He also mobilized 150 members of the National Guard to help clear debris.

Additionally, utility companies are prepared to respond 24 hours a day to power disruptions and are mandated to implement their emergency response plans when needed, according to the governor’s release.

If traffic signals are out at any intersection, motorists are reminded that the intersection then works as a four-way stop.

If experiencing a power outage, the governor’s office recommends people should:
• Turn off or disconnect major appliances.
• Check on your neighbors.
• Use only flashlights for emergency lighting.
• Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed.
• Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat.
• In cold weather, dress in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors.
• Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car.
• Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines and elevators may not work.
• If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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