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30,000 homes without power in Smithtown

Crews in the Town of Smithtown were at it again this morning, clearing roads of tree debris, said the town’s supervisor Patrick Vecchio.

“The first priority is to get most of those trees off the road, which we’ve been doing,” he said.

Vecchio said that all main roads, to his knowledge, were open this morning. “Most of them, there are no traffic signals, so it’s a very difficult situation,” he said. “People have been advised to stay off the roads if they can.”

Glenn Jorgensen — superintendent of highways for the Town of Smithtown, which includes Kings Park, Nesconset, Commack and St. James — said his goal was to have all interior roads open by 6 p. m. tonight. Some minor subdivision roads still have trees down.

The biggest challenge, Jorgensen said, was getting LIPA lines cleared of trees.

"LIPA's doing a fairly good job, but there are so many trees that are still in the wires," he said. "The older subdivisions, where the trees are big and old and have been there for 40 or 50 years .?.?. are all coming down."

Several trees have fallen and blocked residents' driveways, Jorgensen said. "That's not my priority right now," he said. "My priority is to get the roads open."

Jorgensen said that the highway department would start taking care of "minor essentials...like blocked driveways" after all the roads were open.

Making things more difficult is the widespread lack of electricity.

“There are 30,000 homes in Smithtown without power and everyone is waiting for LIPA to put it back on,” said Vecchio “If you see lights in a store, for example, that has a generator.”

A prayer breakfast with Vecchio was canceled this morning. Recycling pickups were also canceled today, but garbage will be picked up tomorrow, he said.

Though Smithtown does not have any town activities scheduled for Halloween, Vecchio was reluctant to make any pronouncements on whether residents should trick-or-treat tonight.

“People have free will,” he said.

Repair efforts, especially to several damaged sidewalks and curbs, would continue long after children had emptied their Halloween buckets, according to Jorgensen.

“In December, you can’t really be pouring concrete," he said. "It's going to take quite a while to straighten out."

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