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Winds drop as Long Island recovers from storm

A tree and wires are down across Smithtown

A tree and wires are down across Smithtown Avenue in Bohemia on Thursday morning. Credit: James Carbone

This story was reported by Joan Gralla, Rachel O'Brien and Jean-Paul Salamanca

The gale-force winds Wednesday night and early Thursday that blew over trees and knocked down power lines, cutting power to more than 65,000 Long Islanders,  calmed by Thursday evening with a still breezy 14 to 20 mph west wind expected Thursday night, the National Weather Service said.

Cloudy skies were also expected to clear Thursday night.

Friday should be mostly sunny, with a high near 58 and a wind around 13 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph, the weather service said Thursday evening.

The wind had topped out at a gale force 49 mph at midnight Wednesday in North Merrick and at mighty 83 mph in Stony brook at 1 a.m. Thursday, the service said.

PSEG data showed, however, that by 6 p.m. Thursday only about  7,000 customers PSEG Long Island customers still did not have electricity data showed. And that number dropped to about 3,000 by 8:30 p.m, the PSEG outage map showed.

Most customers  were expected to have their power back by midnight Thursday. The remaining customers will see their power restored by midnight Friday, the utility said.

The utility in a statement said it had brought in extra tree and line crews, who are evaluating damage and restoring power, beginning with the most critical buildings.

In the Town Riverhead, 15 trees were downed by Wednesday night's storm, said Michael Zaleski, Riverhead's deputy highway superintendent. Roughly 10 of those trees became tangled up in power wires, Zaleski added.

Roughly 98 percent of the town's roads were open as of Thursday afternoon, Zaleski said, and town highway crews were on storm cleanup duty.

Zaleski added there was "a lot of storm damage from the wind more than the water," as reports of flooding were minimal.

Kevin Bonner, the director of communications for the Town of Babylon said Thursday afternoon about a dozen trees had fallen in town but down across town. A few of the trees had affected PSEG wires but no town facilities had lost power, he said.

In Southold, New Suffolk saw some power outages due to a large fallen tree hitting one of the main power lines, said Southold's Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando on Thursday

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said the town had received reports of power outages scattered throughout the town, with more than 500 outages estimated. 

"We have four cars with live wires on them although no injuries," Russell said. Branches, trees and flooding had also been seen throughout the community, Russell added.

However, all town roads were reported to be open as of 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Orlando said. 

Route 25A was shut in both directions early Thursday from Hastings Drive in Smithtown to Concord Drive in Huntington for a downed tree, officials said.

Also closed by uprooted trees were Route 347 westbound near Nicolls Road and all lanes of County Route 97 in Brookhaven, according to the state transportation department.

The National Weather Service said Saturday should bring sunny skies, with a high near 60 with wind of only 5 to 7 mph.

Sunny weather was also forecast for Sunday and Monday with the high temperature Monday rising to about 67.

Cloudiness is expect to return Tuesday with a 50 percent chance of showers and a high near 69.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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