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Storm cleanup continues; National Grid aims to restore all power by Thursday night

Storm cleanup continues; National Grid aims to restore all power by Thursday night

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The cleanup from Tropical Storm Irene continued around the region Tuesday as tens of thousands of local residents remained without electricity for a third day.

About 20 families who had been flooded out of their homes in Granville were able to return late Monday and Tuesday, and 16 remained out as of mid-day Tuesday. Mayor Brian LaRose said it was hoped that more would be allowed to return late Tuesday as electrical systems were checked.

"All of the cellars have been pumped out and we're hoping to get some more homes energized today," the mayor said Tuesday.

Three homes in the village and town of Granville were condemned because of damage to their foundations from Mettawee and Indian rivers flood waters, though one of the homes was unoccupied. Several businesses near the intersection of routes 22 and 149 in Granville remained closed Tuesday, including McDonald's and Subway restaurants and Zappone Motors.

The car dealership lost 130 to 140 new cars to flooding. Owner Jim Zappone said three to four weeks of renovations will be needed before the dealership can reopen. All of the flood-damaged cars will be removed and new Jeeps, Chryslers and Dodges brought in, he said.

Meanwhile, power outages continued to plague more than 10,000 National Grid customers in Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Hamilton counties as of Tuesday evening.

National Grid plans to have power restored to all of its affected customers in the region by 11 p.m. Thursday, according to the utility's website.

Large pockets with extreme tree and power line damage were sprinkled around the area. Many areas were spared any storm damage, while others were devastated.

Wind damage seemed worst in parts of Queensbury, West Fort Ann, Pilot Knob and areas of the south shore of Lake George as well as in northern Warren and southern Essex counties.

Ray O'Keefe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the peak wind gust at the Warren County airport during the storm was 45 mph. But the winds 1,000 feet up were 60 mph, and heavy rain tended to force high winds down, creating microburst-like conditions.

"It looks like a microburst hit that area near West Mountain in Queensbury," he said.

Residents on and around Hadlock Pond lost power at 8:30 a.m. Sunday as trees crashed down around the pond. Many remained without power Tuesday morning, as large power lines lay on roads.

Hadlock Pond Road resident Louise Nelson said the pond lost many trees in a strong thunderstorm a week earlier as well.

Queensbury officials said they have gotten a number of complaints in recent days about residents illegally burning storm-downed trees and limbs. Open burning is banned in Queensbury.

Fire Marshal Michael Palmer issued a statement Tuesday clarifying the law.

"This type of burning creates a hazardous condition and in most cases an unwanted disturbance of the air quality in the surrounding area," Palmer said.

Palmer said residents should store wood debris on their property for pickup by town crews in the future. Private contractors and tree crews can also be brought in to clean up for a fee.

Anyone with questions may contact Palmer at 761-8206.

A number of roads that were closed, including routes 29 and 313 in southern Washington County, and Route 9 in Lake George north of the village of Lake George, had reopened as of Tuesday morning as floodwaters dropped.

As the cleanup progresses, the questions now center on who will pay for it and whether federal aid will be forthcoming.

LaRose said Washington County officials met with a representative of U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson's, R-Kinderhook, office to discuss possible federal aid.

The state's U.S. senators, Charles Schumer, D-New York, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D- called Tuesday for a federal disaster area declaration for the region. They said they hoped the federal government would provide aid for both individuals and municipalities to pay cleanup costs.

Officials in local counties are trying to calculate damage estimates.

"As we survey the damage in the coming weeks, I encourage local leaders and officials to make their needs known so that we can get to work bringing the resources and tools that we need to the counties to get the recovery effort under way as quickly as possible," Schumer said in a news release.

State officials announced Tuesday that the Adirondack Park Agency and state Department of Environmental Conservation will waive permitting requirements for emergency waterfront repairs, road and bridge stabilization and other emergency repairs.

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