A blast of winter weather left hundreds of thousands of people across Upstate New York without power amid unseasonably chilly temperatures for springtime.

“I do want to acknowledge that this was a very serious event, as I said, resulting in dramatic amount of families, homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, at least temporarily displaced and dealing with the lack of power,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

About 350,000 homes were without power throughout the event, Hochul said. The heavy snow resulted in downed limbs and trees, flooding and especially problems with power lines.

“By the time we got here, I saw the trees and stuff. I was like, 'wow,' said Binghamton resident Ray Henderson, who was busy cleaning up tree debris in his yard after making his way from sunny Florida earlier in the day.

“We were only, like, 30 minutes from here, stuck on 81 at the end of P.A., sitting there until they removed the trees and stuff,” he said.

A couple of blocks over, Christie Donnelly of Binghamton headed out to feed the ducks that visit her pool out back every day. The big difference, however, was a giant tree leaning into her pool.

Power was still being restored throughout Broome County and the Southern Tier Tuesday as a mid-April snowstorm covered the region. County leaders said crews were taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to clean up the damage.

The storm made for a commute no one in Broome County could have expected in mid-April. The after effects of the winter blast could be felt for the next couple of days, according to local leaders.

What You Need To Know

  • Nearly 45,000 in Broome County were without power this morning 
  • Many gas stations out of service and traffic lights out
  • 911 dispatchers took 1,697 calls from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. That’s 242 an hour. They average 1,200 per day
  • Trees could be seen down on Country Club Road, Byford Blvd., 38B near Union Center Fire Department

“We’re working with all our municipalities. I already talked to the governor, the governor is deploying her assets here as well. We’re working with NYSEG. It’s all hands on deck to get those trees off the roads and get the power restored,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

Gov. Kathy Hochul did visit the region Tuesday evening.

"This storm dumped wet, heavy snow that brought trees, branches, and power lines down with it—impacting tens of thousands of people across several counties. Our State Emergency Operations Center continues to work closely with impacted local governments to help clear damage and get power and heat back on," Hochul said. "As crews work through the night and into the morning, I encourage people living in impacted areas to make a plan for the next two to three days, use caution with alternative heat sources, take their time shoveling heavy snow, and check in on neighbors." 

Garnar issued a state of emergency and a travel advisory as calls to the 911 center continued to come in. Between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m., dispatchers took in nearly 1,700 calls. They average around 1,200 in 24 hours.

“There was upwards of 300 calls in the queue when I arrived this morning, people calling in with downed power lines, trees down, cars off the road. We called in extra staff to accommodate that," said Broome County Emergency Services Director Pat Dewing.

The county executive also opened the Emergency Operations Center to help keep up with storm. In Chenango County, more than 15,000 people were without power at one point.

Crews cleaning up the damage were tasked with a big challenge, that didn’t just relate to snowfall.

“It’s a dangerous event. Any time you’re working with trees and downed power lines, it’s a dangerous event but these men and women get out there and they don’t care. They’ve got a job to do and they’re doing to get it done," said Garnar.