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Suffolk estimates $30M in damage from storm

A large tree fell on a home on

A large tree fell on a home on Lanier Lane in Bay Shore during Sunday's storm. (March 14, 2010) Photo Credit: James Carbone

The Nassau and Suffolk County emergency preparedness offices said work crews, fire departments and other emergency personnel were out in both counties Sunday while the Long Island Power Authority continues to try to restore power to thousands left without electricity.

Thousands still without power on LI

In Suffolk, Joe Williams, the emergency preparedness commissioner, said there is an estimated $30 million of damage in the county, mostly from downed wires and trees.

Williams said that county officials Monday will talk to officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seek aid to help repair the damage.

Williams said there has been significant erosion at Gilgo and Smith Point beaches. He also said there was a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in the number of fire alarms in the county Sunday morning, mostly from people calling to report downed electric wires.

"Our main thing now is getting power restored," Williams said.

Williams' counterpart in Nassau, Jim Callahan, said he could not yet estimate the amount of damage in the county, which Saturday night opened two shelters - one in Glen Cove and the other in Rockville Centre - but no one showed up.

Callahan reported severe flooding in Bayville, Glen Cove and Freeport.

"We've got trees down all over the place," Callahan said.

Callahan said the storm did not qualify as a hurricane, but that winds at Kennedy Airport reached 75 mph Saturday night. "The wind speeds were like a hurricane," Callahan said.

In Brookhaven Town, calls to the highway department began around 9 a.m. on Saturday and never let up, said dispatcher Cary Goldstein.

"The town got beat up," Goldstein said. His call log has filled three pages of a legal pad - more than 90 requests for help in all. Eight of ten calls are for trees down, he said, and the majority have come from the south shore.

"The trees and the floods have been incredible," he said. "We got blasted. We've had crews out since 9 a.m. yesterday. It's been a long haul."

Rick Gimbl, Islip's director of emergency management, estimated the cost of the cleanup in the town at "hundreds of thousands of dollars." He made his estimate after a tour of the town and talking to clean up crews.

"We were out since yesterday [Saturday] morning trying to keep ahead of the storm," Gimbl said. But the task proved virtually impossible as wind gusts measured at 60 mph swept through the town, knocking down trees and power lines.

"Almost every street in every hamlet has to be cleaned up," Gimbl said. "Right now, we're just making the streets passable for emergency vehicles."

Gimbl said ground already saturated by snow storms could not handle rainwater.

In Southold, highway superintendent Peter Harris said about 25 trees were toppled by high winds. There was also severe flooding on some roads.

"There was a lot of stuff that came down that we'll be dealing with," Harris said.


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