July 23, 2013


Storm knocks out power

1,100 around South Cortland in dark after afternoon thunderstorm

StormJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortlandville Fire Chief Gere Henry advises a family on Bennie Road to wait inside their home Monday until utility crews shut off power to lines resting on their house due to a fallen tree. About 1,100 homes and businesses lost power after a thunderstorm Monday.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — A severe thunderstorm late Monday afternoon caused widespread power outages around the hamlet of South Cortland and along Route 13.
National Grid reported that 1,100 customers were without power after the storm.
A large section of a tree landed on three power lines in front of 1021 Bennie Road in Cortlandville, suspending a section of tree above the white, one-story house.
One of the lines snapped when heavy tree limbs landed on it, causing the outage, said Cortlandville Fire Chief Gere Henry.
“We had sparks flying all over,” Henry said.
The arcing power line did not cause a fire at the home when it fell about 4:30 p.m., Henry said.
Traffic lights were out from the intersection of Route 13 and Route 281 southward to the intersection of Route 13 and East Finger Lakes Drive by Essex Steel.
Drivers traveling the roads around 5:30 p.m. took turns going through the intersections; no police officers were directing traffic along the road.
Lydia Lowe of Lamont Circle said her drive to Price Chopper on Route 13 was “frightening.”
“But everybody’s been real good so far at being courteous,” she said as she waited for her mother outside the grocery store.
Many stores in the same plaza as Price Chopper, including Kmart and JC Penney, were closed due to the power outage. Price Chopper was running on a backup generator and customers had full access to the store, said Olivia Fussner, a shift supervisor.
Walmart, as well as the Shoe Department in the plaza across Bennie Road from Walmart, was also closed, along with numerous stores along Route 13.
A backup generator supplied Walden Place at 839 Bennie Road with full power, said Carrie Rockefeller, executive director of the senior living community.
“So we’re probably better off than a lot of the people surrounding us,” Rockefeller said.
National Grid workers arrived about 6:30 p.m. to clear away the tree from the Bennie Road power lines.
“One more of them breaks, it’ll be on top of the house,” Henry said before National Grid arrived. “See how all the poles are leaning from all the pressure from the tree?”
The power lines had nearly hit a metal ramp leading to the front entrance of the house, which would have been charged with power, he said.
“There’s still people home inside,” said Henry, noting that it was not safe to leave the house until National Grid inspected the power lines.
The storm also downed trees on Route 13 in front of Midstate Veterinary Services and near a water tower along Route 215, said Dave Denniston, Cortlandville assistant fire chief.
But those trees did not land on any power lines, Henry said.
Power was restored to all but 62 customers by 6:50 p.m., said Patrick Stella, a spokesman National Grid. By 9:41 p.m., all but six customers had lights, Stella said.


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