As Rockland County residents awoke this morning with more than a foot of snow on the ground, they found a much different situation than storms that rocked the county in 2012.
Police say major roads are open and they only had a few minor accidents overnight as the storm that started Friday afternoon continued to dump snow on the county until early this morning.
Orange and Rockland Utilities is reporting that the are no power outages this morning in Rockland County. O&R says its crews have restored electric service to 677 customers who have so far lost power as a result of the winter storm.
Crews have also responded to an additional 144 partial power conditions throughout the O&R service territory, which includes 300,000 electric customers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
O&R employees and contractors were mobilized at 8 a.m. Friday. Crews worked throughout the day and night to address outages as they occurred. O&R reports those crews to stand by to access any reported damage locations and restore electric service as necessary to customers impacted by the storm.
New City Fire Chief Kenny Flynn said a New City home was damaged by a fire that was reported at about 3:30 a.m. A 69-year-old homeowner was taken to Nyack Hospital for treatment of apparent smoke inhalation.
Flynn noted the fire was close to becoming a tragedy because the homeowner delayed calling for help for 15 to 30 minutes as he tried to put the fire out himself.
But aside from that one close-call, Flynn said the storm only resulted in a handful of emergency calls for the fire department. The one report of a downed utility line his department received turned out to be a false alarm.
Rockland County reports that Transport of Rockland bus service, which shut down Friday evening, has resumed and is on a normal Saturday schedule. However, some delays are expected because of the snow.
Today, O&R urges its customers to keep the gas equipment outside of their homes clear of snow and ice buildup as a safety precaution.
If the equipment that regulates the natural gas flow into homes and buildings becomesclogged with snow or caked with ice, the effectiveness of that equipment could becompromised, leading to the possibility of a gas service interruption, safety issues or evensevere health problems.
Also, snow and ice buildup on a natural gas meter, regulator or regulator vent line couldmake O&R equipment inaccessible to O&R responders in the case of an emergency. Damage to the equipment could result due to excessive stress from the weight of ice andsnow buildup or from falling icicles.
In addition, snow drifts that cover appliance vents are a potential safety concern. Drifting snow may block appliance intake and exhaust vents, causing the appliances to fail or tobuild up dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
Also, to avoid damage risk, O&R urges snow removal operations to steer clear of plowing near O&R natural gas equipment and to dump and pile plowed snow away from O&R natural gas equipment.