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Neighbors remember March wind storm that devastated the area

More than 200,000 homes and businesses were left in the dark - some for more than a week after wild winds knocked down trees and power lines almost a year ago. 13WHAM caught up with neighbors in some of the hardest hit areas and has more on what they remember about that day. (WHAM photo)

Irondequoit, N.Y. (WHAM) - There are moments that stand still in some minds. The powerful wind storm on March 8, 2017 is one of those moments.

Jeanne Allen lives on Colebrook Drive in Irondequoit.

"It was almost like a war zone," she said. “I had to maneuver around fallen power lines and trees. There were homes in my neighborhood that their whole house was split in half by trees. A home in our neighborhood – their whole half of house was knocked off its foundation.”

Rock Beach Road in Irondequoit was one of the hardest hit areas.

"All of a sudden we heard this huge impact, felt this huge impact,” said Bill Cole. “The house actually bounced.”

Cole said an oak tree about five and a half feet wide came crashing down on his neighbor's house on Rock Beach Road.

"Roof, walls, ceiling, bed, clothes dressers - everything was in their driveway, and in our yard under this enormous tree," he said.

According to Cole, the tree narrowly missed the family's baby who was in the room moments before. Cole quickly ran over to check on the family of four.

"I did a real quick nose count and had four people and knew they were safe."

Hundreds of people were without power for several days.

Irondequoit Town Supervisor Dave Seeley said his primary concern was the public's safety.

"Just driving around, you could see the devastation," he recalled. “We were one of the few towns to have a warming shelter we set up at the high school. We gave people lists of houses of seniors that we knew streets still didn't have power and we had them knocking on the door to make sure they were okay."

While that day remains etched in memory, some neighbors said the spirit of the community is also something they will never forget.

"A lot of people shared chainsaws, saws,” said Allen. “People checked on each other. The Town of Irondequoit really pulled together."

According to Seeley, cleanup and overtime costs from the storm amounted to several hundred thousand dollars. Despite that event and other weather events, he said the town still came in under budget.

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