Updated 07/28/2012 06:35 PM
Elmira residents and crews work to recover
The tornado that swept through Elmira on Thursday left a lot of debris and fallen trees that crews and neighbors are still trying to clean up. Many areas are still without power. Our Elyse Mickalonis spoke with county officials who say the storm may be over, but it’s still a good idea to stay inside.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- There’s still a lot of work to be done before Elmira gets back to normal. Crews have been working day-in and day-out to clear streets and lawns of debris left over from Thursday’s tornado.
“I feel bad for them because they look so tired,” said Carol Martin, an Elmira resident.
Neighbors did what they could to help out as well.
“Everybody’s chipping in together like one big family. It feels good,” said Daniel McGowan, another Elmira resident.
Officials say lots of people are still without power and that NYSEG is doing what it can to restore service as soon as possible. For many residents, the lack of power means a lot of worrying.
“Where I live on the other side, there’s people on oxygen machines that need that electricity. People lost all their food and everyone’s going through a rough time,” said McGowan.
Officials say 16 residential properties are severely damaged and most likely uninhabitable. Over 200 homes that sustained moderate damage, but are livable and several hundred that sustained minor damage. The Red Cross is still sheltering people at the Elmira Free Academy. They’re reaching out to the public for donations and volunteers. Officials say even though the storm is over, there are still a lot of dangerous things you can encounter on streets. They say if you don’t have to be outside, stay inside.
"One of the biggest issues is there's a lot of electricity still out. We have 14 black traffic signals. A black traffic signal in New York State is a four-way stop. People need to know they need to stop at a black traffic signal,” said Andrew Avery, Chemung County and Elmira Public Works Commissioner.
Michael Smith, Chemung County Emergency Management Director, added, “We still encouraging people to be very careful if they’re out walking. There’s a great deal of debris, sidewalks that are damaged from uprooted trees, people need to be very mindful of that. In addition, as the electric crews are working they need to work without people in their way.”
To safely get the area back on track.
If you'd like to make a donation to the Red Cross, visit american.redcross.org.