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'Never a question about rebuilding' after Sandy

When their Babylon home was damaged by 2

When their Babylon home was damaged by 2 feet of water after superstorm Sandy, the Albert family, from left to right, Philip, JoAnne and daughter Amanda, 16, decided they didn't want to go through that experience again, so they researched ways to minimize their exposure to risk in the future. Their house is now suspended in the air, waiting to be placed on a new concrete foundation, elevated 8 feet above the flood plain. The family is currently living in a small trailer at the side of the house. (Aug. 29, 2013) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The Albert family isn't giving up on the view of the Great South Bay and South Oyster Bay waters from their Village of Babylon neighborhood.

"There was never a question about rebuilding" after Sandy flooded their house, said Philip Albert, 56, a Con Edison manager in New York.

The question the family pondered "was how high is high enough" to raise the house to withstand future storms and keep a low insurance premium, said JoAnne Albert, 54.

They consulted with a contractor and settled on raising it about 8 1/2 feet -- more than a foot above their flood zone's requirement for insurance coverage.

Flooding has become more frequent, JoAnne Albert, a legal assistant, said, describing the aftermath as walking into a house "after it was totally vandalized."

Water first crept into their garage during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, she said. Then Sandy pushed 27 inches of water into their house in October 2012. Less than two months later, high tide during a nor'easter flooded the garage again and forced an evacuation.

The couple and their daughters, 16 and 21, moved into a used trailer next to their property as work on their 3,000-square-foot house proceeded. The lifting began in early July. The house is still perched atop wooden cribbing as workers finish a steel-reinforced base.

The Alberts said building up was the right thing to do, even if the $100,000 in costs after insurance led them to dip into savings "for our daughters' college or for their weddings some day," JoAnne Albert said. They don't yet know how much they could receive in disaster aid.

"Many people on Long Island's coastal communities," she said, "are waking up to the fact that these high tides and storms may be the new wave of the future."

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