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Winds knock tree into Glen Cove house, cause outages

Strong winds blew across Long Island, with gusts over 50 mph, causing power outages on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

Strong winds gusting to over 50 mph blew across Long Island Monday, toppling a tree onto a house in Glen Cove, knocking out power to thousands, and causing delays and service suspensions on the rails, officials said.

A homeowner in Glen Cove had just left her bedroom when the tree fell at about 8:30 a.m., destroying the den and bedroom of the ranch-style home on Buckeye Road, Glen Cove police said. A wind gust of 56 mph was reported at 8:21 a.m. in or near Glen Cove, the National Weather Service said.

Tom Olsen, 70, of Dix Hills, said his sister-in-law, 60, lives in the house and is not injured but “really shaken.”

“She left the bedroom, and the tree came down,” he said. “The tree’s on the mattress.” It has since been moved.

“The living room is gone, the bedroom is gone, the roof is gone, the heating system is damaged,” Olsen said.

Faye Barthold, weather service meteorologist, estimated that sustained winds for much of Monday morning had been around 25 mph to 30 mph.

But there were higher gusts on the Island reported to the weather service, including one at 61 mph in or near Calverton; 58 mph in Farmingdale and 51 mph reported at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

At about 1 p.m. Monday, the weather service upgraded its wind advisory to a high wind warning, in effect until 6 p.m., calling for winds out of the northwest at 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 60 mph.

On the Long Island Rail Road, high winds caused broken railroad grade crossing gate arms “across multiple branches,” causing long delays on the Ronkonkoma branch, and limited service on the Babylon branch.

The high winds caused delays on arrivals at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were reports of wind-related damage on other parts of the Island as well.

In Massapequa, Nassau police reported at 4:40 p.m. that westbound Sunrise Highway was closed between Unqua Road and Park Avenue, and that Unqua Road was closed in both directions with trees and wires down across the roadways.

A PSEG Long Island crew was dispatched to 10th Street near 15th Avenue in West Babylon Monday, where a downed tree took out power lines serving six homes and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle. No injuries were reported.

A downed tree temporarily knocked out power to Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma, school officials said.

“Today there was very heavy winds that knocked down trees,” said Kristina Pappas, a PSEG spokeswoman. “The wind can take a toll on the equipment.”

Throughout the day, Pappas said, as many as 13,000 customers experienced outages of some kind.

All but 300 Long Island electricity customers had power restored to their homes and businesses by 10 p.m. Monday night, PSEG officials said, with nearly 200 in Suffolk and the remainder in Nassau.

The power company reported that it had repaired downed wires throughout the day, including in West Babylon and Glen Cove, where crews repaired both primary and secondary wires knocked out of service by the winds.

Conditions on Tuesday morning were expected to be breezy, forecasters said, but Monday’s high winds were expected to subside overnight.

With Patricia Kitchen

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