LEWISBORO, N.Y. – As Hurricane Sandy looms ominously on the horizon threatening yet another spate of power outages and downed trees throughout the town, area officials are recalling the impact of last year’s Halloween snowstorm as its one-year anniversary arrives on Tuesday.
After experiencing last year’s one-two punch of Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm and the blackouts that came with them, officials noted that many Lewisboro homeowners went out and purchased generators.
“There was a run on permits for the installation of generators,” said Building Inspector Peter Barrett. “They are still continuing to trickle in.”
Town officials said one of the lessons they learned from the storm was that they needed to find a better way to communicate with residents and disseminate emergency information. The Town Board recently passed an amendment to its sign ordinance that will allow emergency services, such as the town’s three firehouses and the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps, to place LED-lit signs in front of their buildings to relay information to passers-by
The signs will tell people the location of cooling or warming centers, and things such as the location and availability of dry ice, bottled water and charging stations for cell phones and laptops. None of the signs have been installed yet, so they won’t be factors in regard to Hurricane Sandy, but officials hope they’ll play a role in future storms.
“The firehouses have generators to make sure that they stay lit, and the info can be updated quickly,” said Town Supervisor Peter Parsons. “It would be a big step in improving communications.”
Lewisboro’s highway department was on the front line of the struggle in the aftermath of the October snowstorm.
“We knew it was coming and we were waiting for it,” said Highway Superintendent Peter Ripperger. “Be you can’t be out there when the trees are falling.”
Ripperger said his department is just now recovering from the storm.
“We had five trucks get damaged and we’re just getting the last one fixed now,” he said. “We were literally plowing trees off the road along with the snow.”
The storm also did significant damage to guard rails around the town.
“We replaced a lot of guardrails on our roads,” Ripperger said. “But those repairs had to wait until after winter.”