Nassau flooding shows post-Sandy fixes still needed, mayor says

Heavy rain caused flooding at Best Buy in Heavy rain caused flooding at Best Buy in Lawrence on May 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

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The recent torrential rains that pelted Long Island showed how little has been done since superstorm Sandy to protect the southeastern corner of Nassau County, the mayor of the Village of Lawrence said in a letter to the governor.

The flooding from the rainstorm "might have been ameliorated by an existing mitigation plan developed by our village and submitted to the state . . . but which remains unacted upon," Mayor Martin Oliner said in a May 1 letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The mayor also said that two emergency evacuation routes -- the Nassau Expressway and Rockaway Turnpike -- have drainage and other problems that have not been corrected. Both flooded during the night of April 30 and into May 1.

The National Weather Service said about 5.5 inches of rain fell in Plainview, 5.1 in Merrick, 4.5 in Lido Beach and 4.4 in Bellmore during the downpour.

Oliner praised the governor for his "herculean" efforts during Sandy. "Since then, however, residents and especially those of the Village of Lawrence, have suffered from [and expressed] deep disappointment at the failure of elected and appointed government officials to follow through on promises made, and to present a concrete, dramatic and innovative approach to the next natural or even man-made disaster," Oliner wrote.

The governor's office released a statement in response saying the state's post-Sandy recovery effort included plans recommended by the village and others in the Five Towns area to spend $27.6 million in federal funds for storm resiliency efforts.

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"The final Five Towns plan, which was announced last month at the Governor's NY Rising Conference, identifies five projects in Lawrence which address stormwater infrastructure, communications and emergency response improvements," the statement said.

Separately, Assemb. Phillip Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) wrote to the state transportation commissioner earlier this week complaining about flooding along the evacuation routes in Nassau County that his Queens constituents would use in an emergency.

"Some of these roads are prone to flooding and during peak hours the thoroughfares are already congested and unable to support the heavy flow of traffic. Waiting for another emergency or disaster to address some of those issues will be too late," Goldfeder wrote in a letter to state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.

Oliner said roads in his village were so badly flooded during the recent rain that some residents in low-lying areas could not get out of their homes. "People were cut off. They couldn't get out of the village," Oliner said.

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