Sea Cliff mayor: 'No backyard' after mudslide

Mud slid over tall retaining walls early Thursday, May 1, 2014, partially burying vehicles in a lot on Harbor Park Drive near Industrial Park Drive. The slide is believed caused by the heavy rain that fell overnight. Neither police nor firefighters reported any injuries. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

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Heavy rains that saturated the ground overnight precipitated mudslides that forced the evacuation of two Sea Cliff homes and left two vehicles partially buried in a Port Washington parking lot.

No one was hurt in either incident, authorities said.

Sea Cliff Village Administrator John Mirando said the village building department, Nassau County emergency management personnel and insurance adjusters responded after a mudslide on Bay Avenue near 16th Avenue collapsed a retaining wall on a hillside overlooking Hempstead Harbor.

"A woman asleep in the house heard a rumble at two o'clock in the morning and rolled over and went back to sleep," Miranda said. "When she got up in the morning she saw that half the backyard was gone."

The slide carried away half the rear patio and left the rest hanging above a precipice.

Sea Cliff Fire Chief Earnest Longobucco said the homeowner called the fire department around 7 a.m. Thursday, and officials evacuated three people from the home where the mudslide occurred and a neighboring property.

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Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy said there were four rental units on the property where the mudslide occurred.

"When I came around the corner, there was no backyard. It was gone," Kennedy said.

The retaining wall was renovated about two years ago, Kennedy said.

The affected home is deemed unsafe until the property is secured to prevent further erosion, Kennedy said.

Residents were allowed back into the neighboring home, he said.

Between 2 and 5.5 inches of rain fell across Long Island from overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, with the heaviest rainfall in Nassau County, the National Weather Service's Upton office said.

In Port Washington, mud sloshing over retaining walls partially buried the vehicles in a lot on Harbor Park Drive near Industrial Park Drive.

Michael Gannon, an assistant fire chief in the Roslyn Fire Department, said a call came in at about 10 p.m., reporting a mudslide in a lot at 6 Harbor Park Drive South, where the law firm of Parker Waichman LLP is located.

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Mud slithered down through a break in a retaining wall, covering most of two vehicles, including a minivan.

No injuries were reported, and both vehicles were unoccupied, Gannon said.

"This is one of our bigger mudslides," Gannon said.

The vehicles are owned by a partner and an employee of the law firm, according to other employees.

Roy Cronin, also an employee of the firm, said he pulled into the lot at about 7:15 a.m. Thursday and called one of the managing partners in the Florida office.

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"I said there's a tree in the middle of the parking lot."

With Gary Dymski

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