UPDATE at 3 p.m.
One year ago on Oct. 30, approximately 134 Orange and Rockland Utilities customers were without power after a snowstorm caused tree damage all over the region.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy Tuesday, 200,000 Orange & Rockland Customers remained without power as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The most recent update had 71,000 of those without power in Rockland County.
“This is the worst storm event in O&R’s history,” said Mike Donovan of O&R. “It is almost twice as big as Irene.”
Donovan characterized the work ahead of O&R crews as rebuilding systems rather than repairing them. He said 27 transmission circuits, 17 substations and 100 distribution circuits are down.
“That really is the supply for electricity to get from the grid to our system and from our system to the substations and out into the distribution system,” Donovan said. “This isn’t repair work. It’s construction work. But right now, we’re trying to clean up downed wires and do damage assessment.”
Donovan said he has heard questions from people who have not seen O&R vehicles on the road.
“A lot of damage assessors are in plain vehicles or personal vehicles,” Donovan said. “Or they are in other company trucks. We are out there.”
O&R will be distributing dry ice at the Boulders Ball Field on Pomona Road in Pomona from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the Office of Emergency Management at 285 Campgaw Road in Mahwah, N.J.
The bulk of Rockland residents remain without power Tuesday morning, in the aftermath of a powerful storm that claimed four lives throughout the region.
Two-thirds of O&R's customers—about 200,000 customers—are currently in the dark. 71,000 of those affected live in Rockland County, with multiple outages in the Nyacks, Pearl River, Orangeburg, Haverstraw, Congers and elsewhere.
In Clarkstown, some 20,000 customers were powerless as of 10 a.m. Tuesday. In Pearl River, over 1,000 customers were without electricity as of 6:30 a.m.
Restoration could take over a week, O&R officials said. Though crews are back at work, the initial projection has power restored to most customers within 10 days.
"[Tuesday] is going to be a day of damage assessment and working on mainly transmission and substations," said Maria Pollard of O&R. "If we can do that, we can make some progress."
The Tappan Zee Bridge reopened Tuesday morning at about 9:45 a.m. The span shut down at 4 p.m. Monday due to high winds; there were only a few red flashing tower lights on the otherwise eerily quiet and pitch black Tappan Zee Bridge all night.
Clarkstown issued an emergency order Tuesday morning, closing roads to motorists and allowing only emergency vehicles on the road.
“The order is intended to protect the lives and property of residents and to allow emergency personnel to efficiently respond to emergencies,” officials said.
All local businesses in Clarkstown, except gas stations and motels, will be closed until 6 p.m. Tuesday.
In Nyack, officials are urging residents to stay away from the marina.
"A sewage overflow has resulted with raw sewage covering much of the pavement area along with structural debris," officials said. "The area should be considered dangerous."
Jawonio has closed for all staff except residential programs.
To report a power outage, call O&R at 1-800-533-5325.