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PSEG: More than 18,000 Long Island customers still without power

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"Still stormy with gusty winds through the day -- weather is improving," News 12 Long Island meteorologist Rich Hoffman said Monday morning, Oct. 30, 2017. A high wind warning had been canceled, but a wind advisory remained in effect until 2 p.m. with west winds blowing 15 mph to 25 mph, gusting to 50 mph Monday morning into the afternoon, the National Weather Service said. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

More than 100,000 of LIPA’s 1.1 million customers experienced a power outage as a result of a storm on Sunday that brought high winds and rain through Monday morning. By 5 p.m., all but 18,963 had their power restored, PSEG Long Island said.

The storm, on the five-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy, ultimately impacted more than 102,000 customers, spread throughout LIPA’s service territory, said PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir. More than 1,176 power-line workers, tree-trimmer crews and others — working 16-hour shifts — are on the job restoring power.

“Crews have been working all night to restore the outages,” added PSEG spokesman Jeremy Walsh.

Weir said PSEG had restored power to more than 83,000 customers by early afternoon. High wind gusts were continuing to impact the system, he said, complicating restorations. At its height at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the storm knocked out power to 46,654 customers.

The strongest gusts were over the East End, with the wind gusting to 75 mph on Plum Island and 67 mph at Hampton Bays and Montauk, according to the National Weather Service.

In general, the Island saw gusts of 50 to 60 mph elsewhere in Suffolk and gusts of 40 to 50 mph in Nassau, weather service meteorologist Melissa DiSpigna said.

But the winds had died down by Monday afternoon: A wind advisory that had warned of winds blowing 15 to 25 mph, gusting to 50 mph, has been canceled, the National Weather Service said.

By midafternoon, skies were clear, with increasing sunshine, but conditions were still windy, said Jay Engle, weather service meteorologist in Upton.

Skies were mostly sunny at Long Island MacArthur Airport, with a temperature of 58 degrees and winds gusting to 35 mph, according to the weather service’s site. The normal high for the day is 59.

Monday morning commuters had to dodge downed tree branches and debris on the roads as DiSpigna said there were “quite a few reports of trees down across the area.”

Weir said utility poles also were knocked down by the storm, including three in the business-hotel district at Route 110 in Farmingdale near Spagnoli Road.

Most of the jobs were what the utility labels “singles,” in which one customer loses power and requires a crew to restore. Those are the most labor-intensive outages and require the longest times to restore, Weir said, adding that outages were spread across the region.

All the outages were to the LIPA distribution grid, in local neighborhoods and business districts, and not the higher-voltage transmission system, which delivers power from LIPA’s power sources to substations.

PSEG has issued requests for additional workers through a multistate mutual aid system among regional utilities, but thus far neighboring states have been so busy restoring their own outages that they cannot spare extra help, Weir said.

PSEG Long Island’s sister company, PSE&G of New Jersey, sent 55 workers and 30 trucks to Long Island, but as of Monday morning the work was being handled by around 700 PSEG workers, local contractors and 270 workers who have been on Long Island hardening the system as part of a federally funded effort.

The 55 PSE&G workers contingent were headed for a staging area that PSEG has established in Bethpage, the company said.

“We have restored 35,000 customers in our New Jersey service area that experienced outages because of the storm,” John Latka, PSE&G senior vice president of electric and gas operations, said in a statement. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to now help PSEG Long Island get the lights back on for customers in New York.”

Weir said the utility will continue to request additional line workers, adding, “We could get more tomorrow.”

PSEG encouraged Long Islanders to report downed wires or power outages by calling the customer service line at 800-490-0075.

Most of the weather-related problems Monday morning were in Suffolk, according to officials.

Downed wires caused temporary service suspensions on the Montauk and Ronkonkoma branches, according to the Long Island Rail Road.

Northport-East Northport and Babylon schools were among a handful of districts to report two-hour delayed openings because of the weather.

Suffolk County police said Veterans Memorial Highway was temporarily closed in both directions between Route 111 and Lincoln Boulevard in Hauppauge because of downed trees and power lines.

Riverhead Town police said Sound Avenue was temporarily closed between Manor and Herricks lanes in Northville, along with Main Road at Linda Avenue in Aquaponic and Elton Street between Roanoke Avenue and Northville Turnpike in Riverhead Town “due to numerous downed poles and wires.”

In Nassau, no one was injured when shortly before noon a tree crashed on an occupied vehicle on Old Country Road near the intersection of Wetherill Road on the border of Mineola and Garden City, police said.

The unidentified driver told News 12 Long Island she was on the way to pick up her kids at the time.

“The tree snapped and fell on my car and stopped me in my tracks,” the woman said.

All eastbound lanes of Jericho Turnpike from Merry Lane to Manors Drive in Jericho were temporarily closed due to downed electrical lines and a pole fire, according to the state Department of Transportation’s website.

George Gorman, Long Island deputy director of state parks, said that “overall the damage was not significant” at the parks but he said that was not the case at Jones Beach where there was “extensive flooding throughout the beachfront area that went north of the boardwalk.”

Gorman said the games area was flooded, including the shuffle board courts and miniature golf section.

“There was some flooding on the north side, with many tree limbs down and a couple of uprooted trees — there was extensive flooding but it’s dissipating now,” Gorman added in an interview shortly after 10:30 a.m.

There was also minor erosion at the west beach and Field 7 and that a light pole came down at the east softball field, Gorman said.

Gorman said the Orient Beach has “minor erosion,” and the picnic area and parking field were flooded.

“The water’s going to recede and the flooding in low-lying areas is going to dissipate,” Gorman said, “but until that happens” the Montauk Point beachfront would be closed to four-wheel drive vehicles that are normally allowed on the beach for fishing.

With tides 1 to 3 feet above normal, tidal flooding persisted in the eastern Great South Bay and Moriches Bay, according to the weather service.

The rain fell in sheets on Sunday: As of 2 a.m., 4.02 inches had fallen at Long Island MacArthur Airport. As of 11:30 p.m., 4.31 inches had fallen in Farmingville, according to the National Weather Service.

In Plainview, 3.69 inches of rain came down by 10:30 p.m., the weather service said.

Earlier, winds between 20 and 45 mph buffeted the Island Sunday night.

While the coastal flooding was mostly minor, the heavy rain led to road closures in some low-lying areas of both counties.

The overnight hours are expected to bring mostly clear skies, temperatures in the mid-40s and west winds of around 14 to 16 mph.

Sunny skies are in the forecast for Tuesday, the weather service said, with temperatures heading up to the high 50s, with winds from the west of around 11 to 16 mph.

With John Valenti, Patricia Kitchen and William Murphy

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