BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – A year after a freak October snowstorm swept through Briarcliff Manor, residents and village officials are preparing for another great storm in the form of Hurricane Sandy.
A snowstorm and high winds that hit the area on Oct. 29, 2011 left many trees and power lines down in towns and villages throughout Westchester. The storm also left 1,772 customers in Briarcliff Manor without power out of a total of 2,964 customers in the village. The snow and ice also wreaked havoc on Briarcliff Manor trees. This year, residents might have to contend with Hurricane Sandy, which is now in the Caribbean but may bring heavy rains and wind to the area by early next week.
With Monday marking the one year anniversary of the storm known as “Snowtober,” Briarcliff Manor Village Manager Philip Zegarelli believes the village will be more prepared for Hurricane Sandy.
“I do believe we’re more prepared than last year because that cold front really slammed everybody,” Zegarelli said. “I know our guys are ready for next week.”
Zegarelli added that village crews have been working on several drainage projects throughout the year that should mitigate the threat of heavy rains.
“We’ve been working all year on these projects and I think it’s very important for what might be coming,” he said. “I think we’re always prepared but I think it’s more that we’ve taken these actions to facilitate that runoff if we get a large storm.”
There is a minimal chance of the hurricane bringing snow that could make cleanup much more difficult, Zegarelli said.
“I’m looking out the window and I’m noticing most of our trees are still green. And if you remember last year, the real issue was that most of the leaves were still green and we had a ton of tree damage,” he said. “It’s a matter of what the intensity is going to be and the situation is deteriorating but we will be prepared.”
Zegarelli recommended residents avoid blocking drainage pipes and asked that bagged leaves not be left by the curb to prevent drainage issues.
Area residents are stocking up to prepare similar to what occurred last year, said representatives of Briarcliff Manor-based Westchester Generator Co. The company distributes and installs generators to residents throughout Westchester County.
“We’ve been moving inventory through the entire year with all of these storms that have happened,” said Christine Blume, owner of Westchester Generator. “People are really frightened and we’re getting 20 calls a week about the storms coming.”
Blume added that the company experienced peak sales leading up to the October 2011 snowstorm and expected sales to peak Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.
“We had about 300 people on the list leading up to the storms last year and our list is growing again to that point this year,” she said. “It definitely helped our business tremendously and we’ve been in business since 2005. Before these major storms came we did well, but not like these recent storms.”