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White Plains Residents Pleased by Irene's Tameness

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Deshia Davis took a break from cooking Sunday afternoon to examine the Bronx River Parkway flooding that had attracted a small crowd near the Hamilton Avenue Bridge.

“I live right up on Chatterton Avenue and usually when we have a storm the basement floods, but the drain system seemed to work pretty well. I was scared it might rise up to my living room, but just my basement is flooded. And I’m kind of used to that,” said Davis, 38.

Davis said she was pleasantly surprised by how tame Irene became after it was downgraded from a hurricane into a tropical storm early Sunday morning and blew through her Battle Hill neighborhood.

“I didn’t sleep. I kept hearing the transformers blow up. The power didn’t go out on my street, but I heard them blow up everywhere else and it scared me,” said Davis, who didn’t have to use the safety pack she says she’s had since 9/11.

Mayor Thomas Roach confirmed that the storm didn’t cause any deaths or serious injuries. White Plains is now focused on teaming up with Consolidated Edison and fixing downed wires and trees that have closed roads.

“We have a number of wires and trees involved with wires and downed trees, but we’re clearing them one by one,” said Roach, who drove around to ensure the hospital was adequately prepared and check up on local damage. “We also have significant damage in the Bronx River Parkway has risen to the level of the bridge that connects the North White Plains Metro-North station to a parking garage."

Roach said most of the storm water emptied into the Bronx River.

“It's so high that the Bronx River can’t receive the water,” said Roach. “The Cloverdale area had significant flooding. We had to evacuate some people from their homes there and the power was turned off there as a result. We have scattered flooding in other parts of the city as well.”

The Cross Westchester Expressway, which will have to be drained, may be closed for a while. Haarlem Avenue by the North White Plains Metro-North station has also been shut due to flooding. Crews were clearing trees and wires from Bryant Avenue Sunday afternoon and Roach said he expected it to be open shortly.

Approximately 2,000 residents are without power, according to Roach, who said many outages were concentrated in the Highlands neighborhood.

Although Roach lifted the street parking ban and allowed restaurants, bars and theaters to open at their discretion, he said residents are still encouraged to lay low.

“We’re still encouraging people just to hang out. Everybody did so much shopping the last few days that they can just relax on a Sunday and stay home,” said Roach.

White Plains was pleased with how easy public safety officers, Con Edison crews and public works employees could get around thanks to residents compliance with the parking ban, according to Roach. He said White Plains was fortunate not to have needed an emergency shelter set-up staffed by volunteers at the Post Road Elementary School.

Many in White Plains, including Susan Stillman and David DeLucia, agreed the city had fared well.

“I think we got away easy. There was more leaves in our yard that grass, but we had a ton of tree branches there in past storms,” said Stillman, a Battle Hill resident. “[The city] did a good job of preparing.”

How bad was the storm in your neighborhood? Do you have any stories or photos you'd like to share? Did you think it would be worse? Email pictures and thoughts to strangle@mainstreetconnect.us and we'll include it in future coverage.

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