City Mostly Spared But Catskills, Upstate NY Slammed by Irene

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New York City was largely spared from the wrath of Tropical Storm Irene, but the storm claimed lives in upstate New York and suburbs as residents around the tri-state remained awash in flood waters and hundreds of thousands were without power.

In the Catskills, a woman in her seventies died after flood waters caused the partial collapse of the Valkyrian Motel in the western Catskill Mountain community of Fleischmanns.

Rescue workers plucked stranded residents from boats as the storm devastated quaint downtowns, one resident said. About 120 residents took shelter in the Belleayre Mountain ski resort over the weekend.

"We've had some terrible flooding here," said Lissa Harris, editor of, who chronicled the devastation on her site. "And it’s slowly draining down to the more low-lying areas, and the sun is shining here, so on to rebuilding."

In hard-hit Westchester County, 86,000 residents are without power. Mount Kisco, Elmsford, parts of Yonkers and the towns on the Long Island Sound got the brunt of the storm.

 "There are still down power lines, some of which are live," County Executive Rob Astorino said. "There are still some trees that are leaning on lines or trees that are uprooted and weak, so you've got to be careful out there still."

A Westchester resident was killed after an inflatable raft carrying five people overturned in the fast-moving Croton River on Sunday. The boat overturned and ejected the occupants, police said.

Bob Murphy, who works for disaster restoration company All-Pro Restoration, Elmsford, N.Y., said his office was flooded but all the equipment was ok because it was moved to high ground.

“We lost our office stuff, you know, files, stuff that we can re-create eventually down the road," he said. "But to help out people today, and pump down their houses, and get them dry, we are ok.”

They've had crews out since yesterday going to residential and commercial clients and pumping out basements.

As residents wait for power to be restored, Con Edison is distributing dry ice at the Mount Kisco, Chappaqua and Mamaroneck train stations and the Yorktown Triangle Shopping Center until 7 p.m. Monday. Astorino is asking Westchester residents to be patient as companies work to fix power lines.

Meanwhile, Metro North service in the region has also been suspended, as the MTA works to remove fallen trees that have littered train tracks across all three Metro North lines.

With Fred Mogul