‘Superstorm’ slides past

A storm that meteorologists say could be one of the largest to ever hit the East Coast had very little impact locally.

While millions of people who live along the eastern seaboard woke up Tuesday morning to downed trees, power outages and flooded homes, residents of the North Country woke up to partially sunny skies.

“There were no problems; we didn’t even have a call. We were ready but nothing happened” said Whitehall Police Chief Matt Dickinson, who had scheduled an extra officer Monday and Tuesday in case the storm caused any problems locally.

Louis Pratt, highway superintendent for the town of Whitehall, also said things remained quiet and all of the community’s roadways remained open throughout the course of the storm.

“We had no problems. Just a downed limb or two but nothing major,” said Pratt, who woke up several times throughout the night to check on the severity of the storm.

Granville also made it through Hurricane Sandy with little more than some downed brush. Highway Superintendent John Tanner said town employees were checking the roads Tuesday morning but encountered nothing major.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported no road closures or significant utility problems.

And while National Grid reported that high winds had knocked out power to 8,000 people at the peak of the storm Monday evening, that number had dropped to 3,300 by Tuesday morning, and only a few hundred homes in Washington County lost power.

With the wounds from Tropical Storm Irene still fresh, many people seemed to be prepared for the worst.

Ann Biddle, manager of the Stewart’s Shop in Whitehall, said Monday morning the store was busier than normal and several people said they were stocking up on water and batteries in the event of a prolonged power outage.

In Granville, the water and soda aisle in Price Chopper had plenty of soda Monday afternoon, but the shelves for gallon jugs of water were bare.

Local officials and emergency responders made sure they were prepared for a worst-case scenario.

The Washington County Department of Public Safety manned its emergency operation center on the eve of the storm’s arrival but had shut down by early Tuesday morning after it became evident that the worse of the storm had missed the region. And members of Granville’s fire departments, who were busy last August during Irene, had met Sunday evening to formulate a plan if things got bad.

Hartford and Whitehall even made plans to shelter displaced residents, but in the end neither community had to carry through with arrangements.

Because the storm struck landfall in southern New Jersey instead of central New Jersey as predicted, the North Country avoided the worst of the storm. But communities up and down the East Coast were not so fortunate.

Nearly six million people were without power in the New York City area and low-lying portions of the city were engulfed under water. It’s been estimated that the economic toll of the storm could exceed $20 billion.

Jaime Thomas also contributed to this report.

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