Fast-moving thunderstorms dumped more than a half-inch of rain in a half hour Thursday evening, dropped hail and knocked out power to thousands.
Lightning strikes to transmission lines in the town of Moreau helped knock power out to an estimated 44,000 people, mainly in Saratoga County and Glenville, National Grid officials said. Most were expected to be back online by midnight or the early morning hours.
Generators helped keep the Saratoga County Fair going strong through the surrounding blackout.
Flash flooding in Schenectady caused cars braving the deep to stall.
Rescuers searched the flooded Crane Street near the suddenly aptly named Lakeview Avenue after a report that someone had been swept up in floodwaters. The search turned up nothing but flood debris.
Albany International Airport recorded 0.61 inches of rain, which began at 5:19 p.m. and ended 32 minutes later, National Weather Service meteorologist Ray O’Keefe said.
“The total itself isn’t all that great,” O’Keefe said, “but the fact that it fell in that short period of time creates some issues for storm drains to handle it.”
O’Keefe, of Schenectady, said his wife reported that their home rain gauge tallied one inch of rain.
Perhaps the biggest feature of Thursday’s storm was hail, O’Keefe said. The worst was centered around Albany, with numerous reports of inch-wide stones, the largest reported in McKownville at 2.5 inches. Rotterdam had a report of one-inch hail.
Elsewhere in Schenectady, several cars were reported stalled in floodwaters, with the occupants getting out safely. Basements were flooded as well.
A tree behind a house on Stanley Street was hit by lightning, Deputy Fire Chief Rod Rosate said.
“There was flooding in all the usual places,” Rosate said as the search on Crane Street wrapped up, “but so far, we haven’t had anyone get hurt.”
No other reports came in later.
In the county, wires were down and basements and streets flooded. At least one tree fell on a house, county Fire Coordinator John Nuzback said. Then, there were the stalled cars.
“People still drive through standing water — what can I tell you?” Nuzback said.
The search on Crane Street drew a crowd as searchers used poles to find anything in the standing water. They also cleared drains to get the water level down.
Among those watching the effort was Betsy McKoy, who lives nearby. She said she didn’t immediately realize why rescuers were there.
“I see people walking by all the time; the storm came pretty quickly,” she said.
Some of the hardest hit areas of Saratoga County included 8,000 in the dark in Saratoga Springs, 4,262 customers without power in Malta, 5,434 without power in Milton, 2,500 without power in Ballston Spa and 6,318 without power in Wilton, according to National Grid.