VALHALLA, N.Y. – At this time last summer, many Mount Pleasant residents were sitting in their homes with no electricity, the roads closed and flooding everywhere. Hurricane Irene was one of the most devastating storms to the New York metropolitan area. The cleanup alone spanned longer than the Town of Mount Pleasant could anticipate, but one year later officials say they are more than ready if a similar storm strikes the area.
“I think our planning before the storm hit worked out well,” said Mount Pleasant Highway Superintendent Peter Sciliano. “But now we have some new equipment that will definitely be a big help.”
Irene left many without power for days following the storm, and various roads throughout Mount Pleasant, including Nannyhagen Road in Thornwood, Brady Avenue in Hawthorne and Bear Ridge Road in Pleasantville, were closed. Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer went as far as declaring the village in a state of emergency and urged all residents to not leave their homes until further notice.
Sciliano said the cleanup after Irene took about two months to finish, and just when all seemed to be back to normal, a major snowstorm hit the area in late October. Since then, the town has bought a new wood chipper that can accommodate larger trees and a crane to help lift heavy branches.
The new equipment will hopefully make up for some lost manpower.
“Manpower does help a lot, and now we’re doing what we used to with less people,” Sciliano said.
Residents themselves may also work to improve their storm planning. Last year on the day before the storm was forecast to hit Mount Pleasant, items such as bottled water and batteries were almost impossible to find at local stores.
Mount Pleasant may not see another storm like Irene for a while, or at least some may hope, but if another big storm comes, Sciliano feels the town will be ready.
“Irene was a big storm, but we’ll be better prepared for another,” Sciliano said.