The Watershed Post is covering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Catskills. We are posting the latest info about road closures, power outages, dry ice distribution and more as stories on our main site and on our Sandy page.

Please share news and information about Sandy with us by emailing [email protected], posting on our Facebook page, or tweeting us at www.twitter.com/watershedpost using the hashtag #sandycatskills.

Hurricane Sandy Coverage

Hurricane Sandy Live Blog (Archived)

10/29/12, 10:30pm: We made our goal to raise $1,000 to fund our CoverItLive blog! In 24 hours, you sent us $1,651. We can't thank you enough. Thank you.

ArchivedHurricane Sandy Crowdmap

From 10/28 through 11/4 2012, Watershed Post readers used this crowd map, powered by Ushahidi, to submit reports about relief resources, missing people, shelters and places to get help, school and office closings, road closings, and eyewitness storm reports after Hurricane Sandy. We archived the Crowdmap on Monday, November 5, 2012. The entries in the crowdmap have been preserved to show where power outages and shelters were located, but this information is no longer up-to-date.

 

 

Hurricane Sandy Updates

How will you spend $3 million in flood money?

Above: A house near Schoharie, NY after Irene in 2011. Photo by fixBuffalo, via the Watershed Post Flickr pool

Communities across the Catskills have a shot at $3 million each to help them rebuild after the ravages of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. This month, they are all holding public meetings to ask their residents how they should spend it. (See below for dates and times.) 

The funding comes from the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013. The progam earmarks $750 million in state and federal disaster funds for 102 "severely damaged" communities across the state. 

The severely damaged Catskills communities, according to the governor's list, are:  Read more

Sandy victims get another extension on FEMA deadline

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the deadline for registering for individual FEMA aid in 13 Sandy-affected counties will be extended, from March 29 to April 13, 2013.

Among the 13 counties eligible for individual FEMA aid for Sandy storm losses are two in the Catskills region: Sullivan and Ulster County. 

Not included on the list: Greene County, which was added to a list of counties receiving public aid from FEMA in December 2012, but was denied eligibility for individual aid.   Read more

Cuomo and Christie blast House GOP over failure to pass Sandy bill

The governors of New York and New Jersey are publicly venting outrage over a decision by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to adjourn on Tuesday night without voting on a critical Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

This afternoon, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, issued a joint statement:  Read more

See video

FEMA deadline for Sandy aid postponed until January 28

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that the deadline to register for federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Sandy has been extended past December 31 to January 28.  Read more

Olive firefighters help their downstate brethren dig out after Sandy

Above: Firefighters from Olive helped a Long Beach firefighter gut his flood-damaged home after Hurricane Sandy. Photos contributed by Chris Winne.

Chris Winne, the chief of the Olive Fire Department, sent these photos last week of a trip five Olive firefighters made to Long Beach, New York, to help out firefighters whose neighborhood had been slammed by Hurricane Sandy.

The Olive contingent camped out in the Long Beach firehouse and answered fire calls for the local firefighters over three days in mid-November.

"We did 29 calls in 72 hours," Winne said. "We lived in the firehouse. They had cots for us. We ate there, we slept there, we answered calls 24/7."

When they weren't on duty, the Olive firefighters and a crew of firemen from Greenport helped two firefighter families rip water-damaged sheetrock out of their homes.

"In betweeen, we talked to some of the firemen who had stopped by to check on us at the station," Winne said. "We asked them, 'Do you need help?' Every house is damaged. They said, 'Yeah. We've got to do some demolition in order to get stuff out.' We were like, 'Let's go.'"  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Assemblyman Pete Lopez on Rebuilding from Recent Hurricanes

Dear Editor,

As our neighbors in the Greater New York region to continue to struggle with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, we know that many also suffered upstate, particularly along the Hudson River. The flooding damaged homes, businesses and public structures, leaving many without power for days.

In many cases, Sandy impacted homes and businesses still recovering from the impacts of Hurricanes Lee and Irene in 2011, and brought into sharp focus, the anxieties and challenges our region continues to struggle with as a result of those storms.

For our friends and neighbors downstate who continue to suffer, we have a statewide obligation to provide intensive support and help them recover as quickly as possible, even as we continue to rebuild here at home. We offer our continued thanks to the many emergency responders and other volunteers, who continue to sacrifice their own comfort and safety to protect the lives and property of others.

All of us are also grateful to the many federal, state and local officials who prudently took steps before, during, and after the storm to protect our communities as much as possible.  Read more

Washington Examiner: FEMA sold trailers as Sandy churned toward the coast

Above: January 2012 photo of contractors at a staging area in Cobleskill preparing to haul a three-bedroom temporary housing unit to a site in Prattsville, for survivors of the Irene floods. Photo by Hans Pennink; from FEMA website.

The Washington Examiner, a right-leaning newspaper that covers national politics in Washington, D.C., reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency sold hundreds of trailers at cut-rate prices in the weeks and months before Sandy wreaked devastation on the Eastern seaboard:

Now, with thousands of families left homeless in New York and New Jersey by the hurricane, those same federal officials are poised to spend more taxpayer dollars to buy brand-new trailers.  Read more

FEMA opens help centers in Sullivan County

On Friday morning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened three centers in Sullivan County to help local residents who were affected by Sandy with the process of applying for federal aid.

The centers are located in the towns of Liberty, Bethel and Thompson.

The Liberty and Bethel individual assistance centers will be open Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 from 9am to 5pm at the following locations:

Barbuti Furniture Store
199 South Main Street
Liberty, New York 12754

Town Hall Building
Tax Collector’s Office
3454 State Route 55
White Lake NY 12786

Another center in the village of Monticello, in the town of Thompson, will be open Monday, November 19, from 9am to 5pm.

Town of Thompson Hall Building
4052 State Route 42
Monticello, New York 12701
  Read more

Sullivan and Ulster Counties declared eligible for federal public aid

Above: A Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York truck makes a local delivery in Kiamesha Lake soon after Sandy's arrival in the region, October 31, 2012. Photo by John of Catskills Photography; shared in the Watershed Post Flickr group pool.

Good news for local governments: Sullivan and Ulster County, along with their town and village governments and some nonprofits, can apply for federal aid for Sandy-related spending.

Earlier this week, both counties got a disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Managmement Agency that means their residents are eligible to apply for individual aid for Sandy-related losses. On Tuesday, both counties announced that they have been declared eligible for public aid to local governments as well.  Read more

Ulster County fire departments help with Sandy relief on Long Island

Above: Esopus Fire Department firefighters taking a break from volunteering for Sandy relief at the beach on Long Island last week. Photo by Randi Port, via the Esopus Fire Department Facebook page.

We asked our readers for photos of Catskills emergency responders working downstate on Hurricane Sandy recovery, and we received some great ones from Zack Spalding, the president of the Esopus Fire Department.

Spalding writes that Esopus firefighters were stationed in Long Island last week with several Ulster County fire departments: Highland, New Paltz, Modena, and Ulster Hose. While on duty doing Sandy relief, Spalding says, Esopus firefighters doused a house fire caused by propane tanks bursting into flame:

The most notable call they have responded while being deployed were 3 100lb propane tanks that exploded and caused a fire to spread to the nearby house.  Read more

Sullivan and Ulster: FEMA aid available; power outages still linger

Sullivan and Ulster counties are on a list of New York State counties declared eligible for individual aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the lower Hudson Valley and New York City metropolitan area.

Both counties have also asked FEMA for a disaster designation that would make public aid available to the county and municipalities -- a request that has support from prominent local politicians, including U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Neither county is currently on the list of Public Aid counties, but the agency is considering their requests. The Freeman reports that Ulster County Emergency Management director Art Snyder expects FEMA public aid to come through:  Read more

Toy Drive Nov 17 to Dec 16 - Donate Today!

The NYC Toys for Tots suffered losses and damages to their inventory and facility in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Their facility in the Emmetts Field area of Brooklyn, across the Bay from Breezy Point, is in the midst of recovery to replenish their supply of toys for this upcoming holiday season. The toy drive will run from November 17th through December 16th.


Age group: Infants to 12 year olds


All toys are welcome. However, if possible, books and Arts & Crafts work best as they accommodate a broader base of children.


Thank you for your support!

Sandy takes toll on local home

Photo by John from Catskills Photography. Shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

Uncounted in any official statistics on Sandy's destruction: This tiny bird's nest, found on November 1 by a Monticello resident checking his yard for storm damage. Luckily, like many houses in the Catskills, this one was a seasonal home, and its former occupants were likely long gone by the time Sandy rolled in.

Another New York bird lost his nest last week too: Big Bird. A 2001 Sesame Street special about a hurricane striking Big Bird's neighborhood has been revived and re-edited to help kids cope with post-Sandy trauma, and will air on PBS tomorrow.

Below: A slideshow of other Sandy photos taken in Sullivan County by Catskills Photography.  Read more

The giver's guide to responsible Hurricane Sandy relief: Give money, not stuff

Above: A pile of surplus donated clothing abandoned in a parking lot in Staten Island one week after Hurricane Sandy. Source: NY1's November 5 report, "Staten Island Donation Centers Taking In More Than They Can Give Out."

In the wake of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, people want to give. But the giving impulse can cause just as much trouble as the disaster itself.

Here in the Catskills, we learned that firsthand in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene last year.

"We ended up with tractor-trailer loads of clothes," said Charles B. Gockel, the executive director of Huntersfield Christian Training Center, which became ground zero for relief and recovery operations for the hard-hit town of Prattsville after Irene.

"People give things that might have been in their closet for four years, or that is from 1948," he said.  Read more

Two Ulster County men arrested for selling $8/gallon gas in New Jersey

Mahwah Patch reported on Sunday that two men from Ulster County -- 41-year-old Richard Rothe of Saugerties and 22-year-old Andrew Eberhart of West Shokan -- were arrested over the weekend in Mahwah, New Jersey.

The two were found with 200 gallons of gas, which they were attempting to sell for $8 a gallon from the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Comfort Suites Hotel. Patch reports:

Rothe was also charged with several traffic violations, Dino said. The pick-up truck was impounded, police said.

Further charges against the two are possible, police said, as the Bergen County Police Department Commercial Vehicle Inspection Team will inspect the men’s pick-up truck, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs was called to investigate the claims of price gouging.

Elderly Shokan couple found dead at home in suspected generator accident

Shokan residents James and Eva Stapleford were found dead in their Black Road home on Monday night by a Town of Olive police officer, after their daughter in Pennsylvania called Ulster County police to check on her parents.

According to an announcement made by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday morning, the Staplefords' house was found to be without power, though other houses in the neighborhood had power restored. A portable gasoline-powered generator was running in the basement-level garage, where 75-year-old James Stapleford was found dead. Officials believe James's death may have been the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

73-year-old Eva Stapleford was found at the bottom of the basement stairs, where she appeared to have fallen in an effort to find her husband.

The Staplefords' deaths are under investigation by the Ulster County Medical Examiner's Office and Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Central Hudson Gas & Electric also responded to the scene to restore electrical service, and make sure the house was safe.  Read more

In southern Catskills, widespread power outages and gas shortages remain as Nor'easter looms

Above: A gas station without gas in Fallsburg on Friday, November 2. Photo by Jason Dole. 

Thousands of households are still without power today as a Nor'easter bearing six inches of snow heads for the Catskills on Wednesday.   Read more

Confessions of a road warrior: Sullivan County goes Mad Max

Above: Six trees landed on this house in Woodridge. A seventh was somehow able to resist the building's attractive powers. Photos by Jason Dole. 

Jason Dole has been covering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Sullivan County for the Watershed Post. Here's his more personal take on what it's been like to be a Sullivan County resident this week. -- Julia Reischel

On Wednesday afternoon, I asked a friend how he was doing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. We joked that Sullivan County was on the verge of becoming a cold, wet version of Mad Max (see left for an idea of the genre). We riffed on hoarding gas and building a Thunderdome.  Read more

Speenburgh: "Possibility of scattered gas shortages" in Greene Co., but fresh deliveries are arriving soon

Jay Fink at WRIP 97.9FM in Greene County tells us this afternoon that Greene County's gas situation is improving, according to Wayne Speenburgh, the chairman of the Greene County Legislature. Speenburgh warns that there may be some "scattered shortages" over the next few days, but that there is no cause to panic. 

Yesterday, Greene County asked residents to conserve gas.

Here's Fink's email to us in full:  Read more

His kingdom for a gas can: Liberty auto store manager tracks down a precious commodity

Above: Manager Brian McDonald (left) of Advance Auto Parts in Liberty and his staff tracked down gas cans – a hot commodity across the tri-state area. Photo by Jason Dole.

Last week, if people in Sullivan County were concerned about anything at the gas pump, it was the cost of fuel. Now, as worries rise about the availability of fuel, even gasoline containers are becoming scarce.

“You can't get a gas can from West Hazleton, PA to Binghamton, down through the Tri-State area,” said Brian McDonald, Manager at Advance Auto Parts in Liberty. McDonald would know. He's been driving around looking for gas cans while his staff has been making calls and searching online for wholesalers and even other retailers who are in stock.

McDonald eventually found a cache of two-gallon cans up in Norwich, NY, and ordered 150. He brought the first batch back to Liberty himself around 3pm. The bulk will arrive this evening.

“They're going to show up at 7pm,” said McDonald. “And as long as people know they're here, they're gonna fly. People are buying three or four at a time.”  Read more

WRIP: Greene County warns of short-term gas shortages

From WRIP radio host Jay Fink, via the station's Facebook group:

The Greene County NY Code Red system was activated a short while ago to inform residents of anticipated short-term shortages of some grades of gasoline in and around Greene County. Supplies of gasoline have been diverted to the New York metropolitan area in response to the need for gas in that region for generators and transportation. County officials are monitoring the situation, especially for price gouging, and ask residents to please conserve gas whenever possible.

The Watershed Post is tracking reports of outages at gas stations around the Catskills with a Twitter-powered #CatskillsGas widget. Click this link to see the most recent reports.

If you have first-hand knowledge of a gas shortage at a local station, please let us know with an email to editor@watershedpost or tweet to @watershedpost. Please include the station, the date and time of your information, and a photo if you have one.

Tracking reports of local gas outages

As of Saturday, we are hearing reports and increasing social-media chatter about gas outages spreading north into Sullivan and Ulster County.

If you have first-hand information about a gas outage -- or, better yet, a photo of a local station where gas is sold out or lines are long -- let us know at [email protected]. Please include the date and time of your information.

We are posting all info we get about local gas availability on Twitter, using the hashtag #CatskillsGas. Below: A widget showing all tweets using the #CatskillsGas hashtag. We have not verified all the information in the feed below, so please be aware there may be inaccurate information included, and use your best judgment.

As nights get colder, more Sullivan County residents turn to shelters

Above: Loch Sheldrake resident Della Weekes, who stopped by the Red Cross shelter at the Sullivan County Community College Field House on Friday to warm up and have a shower before going to work. All photos by Jason Dole.

Every day, electricity returns to more and more people in Sullivan County. Along with it comes warmth, light, and a little bit of normalcy. But with power outages threatening to stretch into next week in some places, more and more people are also making use of emergency shelters, warming stations, and distributors of dry ice.

“There are about 75 people staying here tonight,” said Donna Borner, manager of the emergency shelter organized by the American Red Cross at Sullivan County Community College. At that point, around 9pm on Friday night, another family walked through the door.

“Last night we had 31,” said Borner. “It escalated because of the cold. We're still expecting more people tonight.”

  Read more

Two polling places changed -- but elections "good to go" in Sullivan County

Hurricane Sandy shook up many aspects of public and private life in Sullivan County, but the elections will go on much the same as always. Only two polling places will be changed due to complications following the storm, a Board of Elections official told the Watershed Post.

“Sullivan county has 39 poll sites and 63 election districts,” said Rodney Gaebel, the county's Republican election commissioner, on Friday evening. “They're all up and running, and I can tell you that 37 are staying exactly the same with no change.”

The two exceptions are Willowemoc Baptist Church in the Town of Neversink, and the Town Hall in the Town of Forestburgh. These two polling places have been relocated to the Neversink fire house on Route 55, and the Forestburgh fire house on Route 42, respectively.

“The only reason those two sites are being moved is because they have no power,” Gaebel said.

When asked if he's confident the elections will go on without a hitch, Gaebel said, “I'm more than confident, that's the way it is. The machines have all been delivered. Barring another storm like that, we're good to go.”  Read more

Sullivan County update: 1pm road closings and warming stations for 11/2/12

Sullivan County posted its latest update on warming stations, power outages and road closures today at 1pm. Read the report in full below:

SULLIVAN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGMENT
HURRICANE SANDY RESOURCE UPDATE: November 2, 2012 | 1:00pm

• NYSEG Dry Ice distribution as follows: (while supplies last)

o Liberty Police Department (noon – 7pm)
o White Lake Fire Department (noon-7pm)
o Monticello Fire Department (1pm-7pm)
o Lumberland Town Hall (2pm-4pm)
o Village of Woodridge Municipal Hall
o Neversink FD (5pm – exhausted)
o Claryville FD (ongoing)
o Highland Town Hall (ongoing)

• Current Outage Estimates

o NYSEG – 16,159
o O&R – 6084
o Central Hudson - 693

• Storm Helpline and Resources:

o 2-1-1
o Non-Emergency Trees Down Reporting 845-807-0877
o NYS Helpline: 1-888-769-7243

• Shelter(s)  Read more

Iowan electric crew turns Woodstock back on

Above: An Alliant Energy crew repairing power lines ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in Woodstock on Thurdsday, November 1, 2012. Photos by Anne Pyburn Craig.

Gregory Brouwer and his Alliant Energy crew left Iowa at 6am Sunday and drove two and a half days to get to New York, driving through Pennsylvania during the worst of the storm. Early Thursday afternoon, they were preparing to “go live” with the major line on Wittenberg Road in Woodstock.

“I’m not sure how they organize it all,” said one of Brouwer's crew members. “Maybe Homeland Security? We just get the call and go."

Crews work 16-hour shifts, coordinating with Central Hudson and local tree trimming crews and highway crews.

“People around here are really, really nice,” said Steve Arneson of southern Minnesota, “with the very rare exception. But those people are just frustrated. We’re used to that.”  Read more

Sullivan County update 11/2/12: Shelters, warming stations, and power (hopefully) back by Sunday

Update: Sullivan County issued another update about warming stations and shelters at 1pm. See it by clicking here.

At 10am today, Sullivan County manager David Fanslau issued an update about conditions in Sullivan County, where power outages and road closures caused by Hurricane Sandy are still widespread. The county has set up emergency shelters at Sullivan County Community College Fieldhouse in Loch Sheldrake, NY and at the Ted Stroebel Building in Monticello.   Read more

Hunkering down in Woodland Valley

Woodland Valley is one of the few neighborhoods in Shandaken where the power is still out today, four days after the storm.

Carol Seitz, the president of the Woodland Community Association, has been blogging about the valley's experience of the storm at the Woodland Valley View. Her account of the Monday night Sandy hit the valley is worth reading in its entirety, but here's a little peek:   Read more

Dry ice locations in the Catskills for Friday, 11/2/12

Update: Two more locations for dry ice have been added in Sullivan County (Claryville FD and Highland Town Hall). Source: 1pm update from Sullivan County.

Update: Two locations for dry ice have been added in Sullivan County. Source: Sullivan County's website

Here's a list of dry ice locations in the Catskills today, November 2, 2012, compiled from Central Hudson's dry ice pageNYSEG's dry ice page, and town websites. Call if you can before you drive to make sure dry ice is there. We've provided phone numbers where we can find them. 

  Read more