BEDFORD, N.Y.--Since “Snowtober” and Hurricane Irene in 2011, Bedford is in better shape to combat future disasters, said the town's Department of Public Works commissioner Kevin Winn.
In the wake of the devastating effects of last year's Oct. 29 storm and of Irene, and as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the area this weekend, the town is doing all it can to prepare for future catastrophic weather events.
The damage created by the October 29 snowstorm did not reach the threshold needed to require state funding, according to the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services after an assessment by the New York State Office of Emergency Management.
Last year’s storm caused damage in the state amounting to approximately $8.4 million, falling short of the nearly $25 million mark needed to necessitate funding.
Last year, Bedford Supervisor Lee V.A Roberts was very disheartened to learn that damage from the unexpected storm would not be funded by the state.
“The October snow storm was punishing to us; we lost so many trees,” Roberts said, in an interview with The Daily Voice following last year's storm.
"When you think of the hurricane in Bedford, it wasn’t anything compared. We lost so much [in the snowstorm], there was so much damage, and the pickup was enormous,” Roberts said.
While Irene caused major flooding and massive power outages for homes and businesses, road blockages and fallen trees, Snowtober caused even more issues for the town in part because of Bedford’s wooded locale.
"Trees present a problem with a blizzard or snow," more so than even a hurricane, said Winn. "The snow sticks to leaves and a lot of tree branches will break."
In the cases of both Snowtober and Irene, the majority of the problem was downed trees and power lines, Winn said.
To prepare for the issue of power loss in future storms, over the summer, Roberts was one of a group of local supervisors who held talks with the major utility companies, New York State Electric & Gas and Consolidated Edison, to discuss improving response times and coordination between agencies.
Winn said that Con Edison has rolled out a liaison program that assigns four representatives to each municipality. These individuals have become familiar with the town’s electrical grid and infrastructure, and will work with village officials on site when there is a major outage.