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Hempstead, hit hard by storm, still cleaning up

A heavy storm punctuated by rain and strong

A heavy storm punctuated by rain and strong gusts of wind caused damage as it passed through the area Saturday. Here, a fallen tree damages completely blocks the intersection of Mayfair Avenue and Groton Street in West Hempstead, taking down a power line with it. (March 14, 2010) Photo Credit: James A. Escher

It was one of the hardest hit areas of Long Island.

On Monday, the Town of Hempstead continued to clean up the mess left behind by the brutal weekend nor'easter - a storm that left more than 32,000 customers without power as of 10 a.m. and downed more than 300 trees onto town property, officials said. More than 50 of those trees were still to be removed as of Monday morning.

"Crews are working aggressively as we begin a third straight day of tree removal across the town," Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. "We are working hard to make all roadways passable and safe for residents."

Nearly 50 to 60 trees that remain down are entangled in LIPA power lines, requiring town officials to coordinate with the utility "to remove the trees in a safe and responsible manner," town officials said.

LIPA dispatched hundreds of workers across Long Island to restore power.

There are 252,397 LIPA customers in the Town of Hempstead. As of 10 a.m., LIPA said, 32,751 remained without power - or 13 percent. The Town of Babylon also had 13 percent of its customers without power - with 10,967 outages among its 82,189 customers Monday.

"Hempstead Town appears to have been the hardest hit area on Long Island, accounting for more power outages than all other Island townships combined," Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery said in a statement.

Shelter Island, which has just 3,021 customers, was the lone town on Long Island Monday without any outages, according to LIPA. Riverhead had just 78 of its nearly 20,000 customers without power Monday, while East Hampton had just 48 remaining outages among its nearly 25,000 customers.

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