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As Sandy Looms, Pound Ridge Recalls October Snowstorm

Pound Ridge Building Inspector Jim Perry says he issued more than 300 permits for generators in the wake of last year's October snowstorm.
Pound Ridge Building Inspector Jim Perry says he issued more than 300 permits for generators in the wake of last year's October snowstorm. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – For the Weiner family of Pound Ridge, last year’s October snowstorm will be a night they will always remember as they mark its one-year anniversary on Tuesday.

They were hosting a dinner party that they rotate among a group of friends for which the husbands do all the cooking.

“My husband spent all day prepping and, at 4 o’clock, our friends from Pound Ridge called to tell us their power went out; however, ours was still on,” Jenny Wiener recalled. “They couldn't leave their kids at home with a sitter with no power, so they all came over; their youngest was not yet 2 years old. Another couple coming from New Canaan got here before it got really bad. A couple from Bedford was also without power and decided to just stay home. The remaining three were coming from Putnam County.  Everyone finally made it safely and, just as we were getting ready to cook everything, the power went out!”

Just as everyone was about to sit down to eat, the power came back on and stayed on until they finished with dessert.

“Then, in an instant, it went out again,” Wiener said. “With the disaster going on outside, everyone thought it best to just sleep over and bundle up around the fireplaces. Hearing the wind whipping and limbs cracking was frightening, as our house is surrounded by enormous trees.”

If Hurricane Sandy causes similar carnage this October, the Wieners will be ready. They purchased a generator to keep their power running. And, according to Jim Perry, Pound Ridge’s building inspector and director of Office of Emergency Management, the Wieners weren’t the only Pound Ridge resident to have such an epiphany.

“[Requests for generator permits] was the biggest I have ever seen on a average year,” Perry said. “We would normally average about eight to 12 per year, but between that storm and April of this year we did about 300 hundred permits. I think the reason [the requests] went on so long was because people couldn’t get them. There was a backlog and the manufacturers were far behind. The people who got them are going to feel vindicated after Hurricane Sandy arrives.”

Perry said the town learned several lessons in the wake of the October snowstorm.

“We had depended way too much on our website to disseminate information,” he said. “We thought it would be a good way to get the word out, but on the first day we lost our Internet. We were comfortable that we had fiber optic line and we had the generator at the Town House, but we didn’t count on the fiber optic line getting sliced somewhere in Mount Kisco. We just didn’t realize how devastating that would be.”

Subsequently, officials have made arrangements with area radio stations to broadcast information, such as where dry ice and bottled water will be available.

Town officials also discovered that, in future emergencies, like the one Hurricane Sandy may bring, they’ll need more volunteers at the Town House.

“We sheltered a lot of people at the Town House and we are trying to increase the number of volunteers for that,” he said. “Last year, a few people did a ton of work. They worked hard for long hours and did an incredible job. We have worked to increase the number of volunteers and distribute the work load a little better. We have some pretty enthusiastic people who have been working to recruit them.”

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