FEMA officials to arrive in Suffolk County on Wednesday to assess storm damage

People walk through Islip's flooded Main Street Wednesday People walk through Islip's flooded Main Street Wednesday morning, Aug. 13, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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A federal storm damage assessment team is set to visit Suffolk County Wednesday to inspect homes and businesses slammed one week ago by torrential rains that flooded basements and highways from Babylon to Rocky Point, officials said Tuesday.

The inspection is expected to help determine whether the towns hardest hit by the storm -- Islip, Brookhaven and Babylon -- will be declared a disaster area, making them eligible for federal financial aid, officials said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are scheduled to meet Suffolk County and town officials Wednesday to examine multiple sites damaged by the storm, which dumped a state-record 13.57 inches of rain in less than 24 hours at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.

FEMA spokesman Don Caetano said the assessment team might take the rest of the week to visit sites that sustained storm damage. "It's going to take longer than a day," he said.

Caetano said he was not sure what areas would be inspected Wednesday. The storm cut through portions of Babylon and Islip towns before slashing central Brookhaven hamlets such as Holbrook, Selden and Farmingville.

"We are going to go where the locals and the state want us to go for assessments," Caetano said.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to ask the federal government to declare Suffolk a disaster area after the FEMA assessment is completed.

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Tuesday that the storm caused more than $15 million worth of damage to town roads and an additional $10 million to $15 million in damage to homes. The town has condemned nine houses, "and we expect that number to rise," Romaine said.

Islip officials have estimated damages at about $20 million.

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"This is going to be a cost to the taxpayers," Romaine said. "There's nothing we can do. It's like a snowstorm."

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