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Capital Region cleans up after wild weather

Capital Region cleans up after wild weather

Reports of funnel clouds, tornado to the west
Capital Region cleans up after wild weather
Mark Conrad cleans up his yard as National Grid workers repair lines on North Brandywine Avenue in Schenectady on Wednesday.
Photographer: Eric Jenks/For The Daily Gazette

CAPITAL REGION — Repairs and cleanup continued around the region Wednesday, after severe thunderstorms blew through Tuesday night, bringing down trees and prompting reports of funnel clouds in the Mohawk Valley.

In Rotterdam, busy West Campbell Road between Putnam Road and Burdeck Road in the vicinity of the ViaPort Rotterdam mall was closed overnight and into Wednesday night, due to repairs and cleanup following what police said was extensive tree-related damage to utility lines in the area. The road wasn't expected to reopen until Thursday morning.

Schenectady County appeared to be hardest hit by the storm, with thousands of energy customers losing power at the height of the outages. There were also power outages reported in Albany, Saratoga, Montgomery and Fulton counties. Route 5S between Fort Plain and Canajoharie was closed overnight due to storm damage but reopened Wednesday morning.

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National Grid reported that, at the maximum of outages, there were 10,000 homes and businesses without power across the Capital Region. Nearly all power was restored by Wednesday afternoon.

"They were scattered all over the place. It was just wind and trees coming down on lines," said National Grid spokesman Nathan Stone. "This storm went from Buffalo to Syracuse to here. We were dealing with it across the state."

In Rotterdam, police said West Campbell Road — which is also state Route 337 — was closed just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. It remained closed because several utility poles -- including at least one carrying high voltage transmission lines — came down. The road would not be reopened until the damage was repaired and the poles replaced, said Rotterdam Police Chief William Manikas.

Officials said some of the downed lines were entangled in trees, slowing the work.

While the westernmost entrance to ViaPort Rotterdam was closed, the mall remained open and was accessible from other entrances. It also had power, and stores were seeing about the usual amount of foot traffic, according to mall spokesman Alan Finitzi.

"It's been pretty steady," he said.

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The National Weather Service in Albany received reports of trees down in Scotia and Schenectady, with at least one instance in Schenectady of a tree falling on a car. There were also numerous road closures due to trees down.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Thompson, in Albany, said there were reports of funnel clouds — a potential precursor to a tornado — in Herkimer County and a confirmed tornado a little farther west, in Madison County. A weather service team from Binghamton was investigating the Madison County tornado, and Thompson said its severity was unknown as of Wednesday afternoon.

The weather came as a cold front swept the state.

"We had a very warm and humid air mass in place, and a cold front moving in from the west, and typically with that confluence of events, you have thunderstorms, and that's what we had last night," Thompson said Wednesday afternoon.

It's unlikely to be the last such storm this summer.

"It's been pretty busy this storm season, actually," said Stone. "We spent a lot of time going around and fixing up after storms."

Road closure updates are available online at 511ny.org.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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