CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Hurricane Irene had been reduced to a tropical storm by the time it rolled into town last year, but the storm still packed a punch that left businesses, homes and roads flooded.
Tuesday is the one-year anniversary since Irene left its mark on New Castle, and town officials have been working on cleaning up the damage ever since. The cleanup efforts were amplified when an unexpected snowstorm blanketed the town only a few months later.
Luckily for Anthony Vaccaro and his Department of Public Works crew, the disastrous weather ended in the fall, and a light winter opened the way for a quick cleanup.
“That was really like an unexpected gift. It gave us a break to catch up on what we needed to do,” Vaccaro said. “I would say it’s been all cleaned up.”
While Vaccaro, the public works commissioner, cannot do anything to prevent natural disasters, he has taken several preventive measures to lessen the effects of any future storm.
“We do regular maintenance to make sure that our drainage ways are open and clear and free,” he said. “A lot of that work was done immediately following Hurricane Irene and that whole October nor'easter.”
New Castle was also one of many municipalities that were invited to work with Consolidated Edison on developing a better liaison program to improve response time. Nearly 200,000 Con Ed customers in Westchester and New York City lost power after Irene hit.
“It’s a more enhanced program that they’re doing with municipalities where they actually send a representative from Con Ed to be on site during emergencies,” Vaccaro said.
New York shelled out more than $574 million in state aid following Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and New Castle Town Administrator Penny Paderewski said the town has so far been approved for $217,802 of the $362,229 it requested. She said one project that still needs funding is $113,312 worth of repairs to a culvert on Annandale Road.
“We have not heard anything back on that yet, but that does not mean we will not get any funding,” Paderewski said.
Are you still feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Irene? Let us know.