Whitehall avoids worst of storm

Storm Damage (1)Whitehall emerged relatively unscathed from a violent storm that uprooted trees and left thousands without power last Wednesday.

Louie Pratt, Whitehall Highway Superintendent, said a half dozen or so trees were toppled in the southeast part of town near Hatch Hill and Tanner Hill Roads.

On Hatch Hill Road, a telephone pole was snapped in half by a strong gust of wind, leaving the phone line suspended nine feet off the ground.

“The rest of town looked pretty good. The north part of town was fine. We only had those half-dozen trees in southeast part of town to deal with,” Pratt said.

Conrad Peterson, a member of the Huletts Landing Volunteer Fire Company, said the storm was pretty benign.

“We had a little breeze and the lights flickered but we didn’t get anything (major),” Peterson said. “Everything was clear and we didn’t have any emergency calls. We lucked out.”

The brunt of the storm tracked just south of Whitehall, hitting the communities of Granville and Hartford particularly hard.

The national weather service reported wind gusts of over 60 mph during the storm, and a number of local officials said it was the strongest storm they’ve seen in a while.

“Besides Irene, I have not seen a storm like this come in. It was a very intense storm,” said Granville Fire Chief Ryan Pedone. He said between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., the department took 18 calls, an unusually high number. 

The wind knocked over so many trees on Route 149 that the road was impassable for two-and-a-half hours Wednesday night. Many of those trees brought down power lines, knocking out power for hours.

Approximately 4,000 residents of Washington County lost power and the Hartford Central School District was closed Thursday because of the lack of power.

“It came through extremely fast and hit us hard and quick,” said John Tanner, Granville’s highway superintendent.

He said his crews had to cut a number of large trees blocking roadways, in order to open them up, and spent the entire next day, which began at 6 a.m., cleaning up its aftermath. He also said there was quite a problem on DeKalb Road, where a pole had snapped in half and had to be replaced and its wires reconnected. The road reopened later Thursday.

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