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Long IslandNassau

A rough awakening for LIers as storm sweeps across Long Island

A house on California Avenue in Port Jefferson

A house on California Avenue in Port Jefferson on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, which was severely damaged by an early morning storm. Credit: James Carbone

The violent effects of Tuesday's predawn storm -- trees crashing and glass shattering -- jolted Louise Lovera and her family from their beds in Port Jefferson.

Blocks away, the Rev. Francis Lasrado was sipping his morning coffee at Infant of Jesus Roman Catholic Church when a "big noise" from above caught his attention.

At about that time in nearby Setauket, Barbara Mann and her family were already awake when powerful winds uprooted three trees and slammed them into their Settlers Way home.

It was a shocking way to start the day for residents of Suffolk County's North Shore as thunder pierced the quiet and winds clocked at 60 mph downed trees, frayed nerves and knocked out power for thousands.

The violent sounds rocking the region were not all natural. An electrical transformer exploding sprung Amy and Frank Giardina from bed at about 4:30 a.m.

Then they smelled smoke.

A tree close by had fallen on a power line, possibly starting an electrical surge that officials said may have passed underground and caused a fire in the home's basement. Giardina and her husband were not injured. She didn't know the extent of the damage to the home.

"You can't even go in there," she said of the house. "Your eyes burn."

Lovera said she and her family awoke to "this thud on the house" and the sound of glass shattering. Her daughter jumped out of bed screaming.

Once the storm passed they saw the damage left behind: two trees uprooted, resting on the torn roof above the bed of Lovera's daughter. Luckily the storm didn't exact a human toll. "No injuries," Lovera said. "The dogs are safe. Everybody is safe."

The big noise Lasrado heard turned out to be the roof ripping from the church's bell tower. The section of roof then then apparently hit a tree in front of the church before careening across Main Street, said Laszlo Girhiny, who edits the church bulletin.

"It was like a cork popped out of a bottle and converted into a Frisbee," Girhiny said of the roof transformed into an out-of-control projectile.

In Setauket, Mann said one of the uprooted trees, an oak, was surrounded by a deck built nearly 40 years ago. When the winds arrived, the tree slammed into the house, lifting the deck off the ground. Another tree crashed through a skylight. A third hit the side of the house, said Mann, who was inside with her husband and daughter at the time. No one was hurt, she said. "We were up when we heard the crash," Mann said. "We were able to get out, but it was still dark, and it wasn't easy."


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