Long Beach mandatory evacuation order lifted

Discarded items damaged by superstorm Sandy sit on Discarded items damaged by superstorm Sandy sit on Illinois Avenue in Long Beach. City officials released a statement Nov. 14 saying an evacuation order for the area has been rescinded. (Nov. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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As some schools reopened and the Long Island Rail Road restored limited service, the mandatory evacuation order for the city of Long Beach has been lifted.

Both the Meadowbrook and Wantagh state parkways will reopen at noon Thursday south of Merrick Road, allowing a free flow of traffic to Long Beach via the Loop Parkway, state officials said.

Long Beach city officials released a statement Wednesday morning that said they and County Executive Edward Mangano have rescinded the order. The statement added that the city remains "in a state of emergency" and will continue to enforce a curfew and "maintain an aggressive police presence to ensure residents' safety."

Long Beach officials used the statement to say that the city has segued from disaster mode to recovery.

"Power has been restored to almost all, we restored safe and clean drinking water, and our sewer system is back up and running," the statement said.

In all, about 97 percent of homes "that are safe to energize," have had power restored, officials said.

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For the first time in more than two weeks, the district held classes on Tuesday, with the Lindell School, East School and Long Beach High School open and hosting students displaced from other schools.

Superintendent David Weiss said 89 percent of the district's high schoolers made it to class Tuesday, and he still is trying to locate some students. Eighty percent of middle-school kids were present.

Limited weekday train service resumed Wednesday, with the Long Island Rail Road restoring service from 4:58 a.m. to 8:59 p.m. The railroad is using diesel equipment to take passengers to Lynbrook, where they'll transfer to electric service.

The railroad said Long Beach service will operate hourly during peak hours and every two hours off-peak. Bus service will be available on weekends and holidays, according to the MTA.

Other recovery advances noted in the statement:

Buses are running on their regular schedules.

Mail delivery has been restored to 28 of 31 postal routes.

The city has removed more than 70,000 yards of bulk material, as well as 4,000 yards of trees and vegetative debris.

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City court is expected to reopen Thursday.

See longbeachny.gov for the "recovery update" statement, which includes information on more resources, services and volunteer efforts.

With Jo Napolitano and John Valenti

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