Sunday Storm Blows Through Rockland County, Causes Damage

From the night of Sunday, December 17 to mid-morning on Monday, December 18, heavy rainfall and high winds blew through Rockland County and the Lower Hudson Valley. The storm had a significant impact on the community, with flooding and damage inducing road closures to the Palisades Interstate Parkway (PIP), near the Palisades Mall, along Route 59 by Pascack Road near the Nanuet/Spring Valley border, and Long Mountain Circle which had reports of multiple vehicles stuck in water.

As of Wednesday, December 20, all road closures have been cleared.

Crews from Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) spent the duration of the storm mobilizing its emergency response workforce to repair damage caused by downing trees, tree limbs and overhead electrical lines in order to restore power outages, which affected 2,596 Rockland residents at the storm’s peak. The task was fulfilled with the help of approximately 200 mutual aid workers.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 19, 528 Rockland customers remained without power, with the majority living on Tomkins Cove Road in Stony Point. O&R spokesman Mike Donovan said that 95% of cases would be fixed by 1 p.m. that day, with the rest being solved by 11 p.m. that night.

Donovan clarified that in order to have power restored, houses must still have equipment that is compatible with receiving power.

“Everyone whose equipment can accept the power (will have power shortly),” Donovan explained. “If you have damage to your house that has to be fixed by a private contractor, your house is not safe for us to give you electricity back in your system.”

Rockland’s Department of Fire & Emergency Services, who worked to maintain communications between all the towns, villages, fire department, police and EMS as the storm raged, made sure all departments were working in tandem.

Fire & Emergency Services director Chris Kear recalled Sunday as a “crazy day” for the fire service.

“The fire service from 11 p.m. on Sunday night until around 9 p.m. (Monday) had about 145 actual fire calls responded out to. Whether it was wires on a tree, carbon monoxide, smoke in the house, car fires, car accidents, things like that. It was well above normal…The volume was four times as normal, it wasn’t a normal day.”

Backyard in Sloatsburg, Photo provided by Chris Kear

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