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East Coast begins massive cleanup in wake of deadly superstorm Sandy

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 3:56 p.m. MDT

Viewers react as waves crash against a seawall near homes in Scituate, Mass. Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Hurricane Sandy continued on its path Monday, as the storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain.  (Elise Amendola, Associated Press) Viewers react as waves crash against a seawall near homes in Scituate, Mass. Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Hurricane Sandy continued on its path Monday, as the storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain. (Elise Amendola, Associated Press)

The storm is over and the cleanup has begun. The areas north of metropolitan, coastal, and suburban New York and New Jersey did not sustain the overwhelming floodwaters and resulting destruction, but the wind gusts took their toll. The counties of Sullivan, Orange and Dutchess in the Mid-Hudson Valley had approximately 68,000 homes without electricity. The Hudson River overflowed its banks and at least temporarily submerged railway tracks on either side.

The power companies were well prepared, bringing in crews from out of the area ahead of time. Central Hudson, the largest power provider in Dutchess and Orange counties, evaluated its power sources, taking weak lines off the grid and rerouted them to reduce outages. It brought its crews in as the wind became dangerous, and redeployed them after the storm had subsided early Tuesday morning.

A spokesman explained that the method for restoring power starts at the substations and works outward. This generally results in densely populated areas getting power before the sparsely populated neighborhoods. He pointed out some facilities do get priority if possible, such as sewer and water treatment plants, hospitals, senior communities, etc. There are many rural areas in the three counties, heavily laden with trees.

A man photographs a home damaged during a storm at Breezy Point in the New York City borough of Queens Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.  The fire destroyed between 80 and 100 houses Monday night in an area flooded by the superstorm that began sweeping through earlier. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II, ASSOCIATED PRESS) A man photographs a home damaged during a storm at Breezy Point in the New York City borough of Queens Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The fire destroyed between 80 and 100 houses Monday night in an area flooded by the superstorm that began sweeping through earlier. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It is too early to tell if the storm has had any impact on the many fruit orchards or vineyards the region is known for. Tourism is popular year round, though dwindles a bit at this time of the year, so it may have made little difference in that respect. National historic sites include West Point, the Roosevelt Presidential Library, Val Kill and the Vanderbuilt Mansion.

The American Red Cross as well as the Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps have shelters set up for those displaced or without power. Central Hudson has provided locations where it is distributing dry ice, and for those with wells and no power, there is bottled water.

Corie Richter is a resident of upstate New York. She is a published author, health care and educational writer who enjoys ancient history, is involved with Scouting and community volunteer work.

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