Wilmington hammered by high winds

Severe winds tore through Wilmington Thursday, reportedly causing substantial damage to power lines, homes and businesses.

Wilmington town Supervisor Randy Preston told the Enterprise Thursday evening that nearly all town residents had lost power earlier in the day. As of about 5 p.m., 70 percent of the town had power. Reached by phone this morning, Preston said about 65 residents were still without power.

“The highway crew is out now,” he said. “Yesterday, we were just trying to keep people safe. Today we’re in cleanup mode.”

Preston said firefighters will go door to door today to check on residents to make sure they’re safe and warm. He said no one needed a temporary warming shelter that was set up at the fire department, and it was deactivated at about 9 o’clock Thursday night.

“We went through the night without any calls,” Preston added.

On Thursday, Preston blasted New York State Electric and Gas officials for their poor communication regarding the power outages.

“We’re not getting accurate info out of NYSEG,” he said. “It’s impossible to get a live body here. I couldn’t be more disgusted with the whole thing. They referred me to their website, and I tried for three hours to get on and find out when power was coming back on. I left several messages for customer service. The supervisor I spoke to before said we only had two areas out, but the fire department is reporting more.

“They kept sticking with a canned answer of ‘noon tomorrow.’ You’d think, after the ice storm, that we wouldn’t be doing this again, and we are. It’s frustrating when you can’t get accurate information from the company, only from the volunteers.”

Officials at NYSEG’s Plattsburgh office couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.

Preston said he hasn’t heard reports of how high the winds reached, but he estimated they were upward of 60 miles per hour. He said power lines sustained “serious physical damage.

“We’re doing OK,” he said. “I think we’re going to get through it. Some people are going to have a tough time. The weather has just been horrendous. Signs were blowing off of buildings. I haven’t seen anything like this in years.”

No injuries had been reported as of this morning, although the physical damage has been significant, according to Preston. He said one resident’s car was crushed by a falling tree, and a storage facility was “flattened.”

At Preston’s house, a pine tree fell and crashed through the roof of his porch.

“It could have been worse,” he said.