Long Island Braces For Possible Flooding, Blizzard Conditions

BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents along Long Island’s South Shore are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best as they hunker down ahead of the season’s first snowstorm.

A blizzard warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Saturday to noon on Sunday for Long Island, New York City and the coastal portions of northeast New Jersey.

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As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, municipalities were cleaning out storm drains and readying an arsenal of snow-clearing equipment on Friday afternoon.

Officials in Nassau and Suffolk are urging residents to stay off the roads, with some local governments issuing snow emergencies.

So far, there’s no talk of evacuations along the shoreline, but Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano stressed that it could change at any time.

“We advise our residents that live in the flood zone to be sensitive to the weather pattern that’s confronting them,” Mangano said.

The county executive expressed specific concern for the upcoming full moon high tide.

“So we’re not advising that you have to leave your home now but if you live there you understand how the tides work, how the water comes up,” Mangano said. “You should monitor that and if you feel there’s a threat to your home or we become concerned enough to call an evacuation, we shall do so.”

In Lindenhurst, a south shore community where some are still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy, a contractor was putting sandbags around a garage, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

The newly built home that faces the Great South Bay replaced one that was destroyed in Sandy.

Others were moving items in their garages to higher ground.

“We’re trying to keep all items above, at least two feet off the ground so nothing kind of gets damaged,” one man said. “For me, I would put sand bags in front of garages, make sure you have enough salt, make sure you have enough water, food, supplies, flashlights.”

“We have to move the cars off the street and the trucks off the street because this area still floods,” another man said. “We don’t expect it to be anything like the last storm, Sandy.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said between the snow and flooding, he’s more worried about flooding.

“Flooding can do tremendous, tremendous damage as we’ve learned the hard way on several times,” the governor said. “All state agencies are deploying all marine equipment to effected areas, especially Nassau, Suffolk, lower lying coastal areas where we have seen significant damage in the past.”

For Eric Galasso, of Lindenhurst, the numbers add up to concern: a nor’easter with a full moon and high tide could flood with waters 3 to 4 feet above normal.

“…If it comes 3 feet above this, you’d be in knee deep water about now,” he said. “If your house is elevated, there is nothing to worry about.”

Galasso and many of his neighbors elevated their homes. And while others abandoned their homes all together, some folks rebuilt without elevating.

“I’m hoping that it’s not gonna happen. But we’ll stay here because we have to save the things that we have left from the last storm,” said Jody Felicetti, of Lindendhurst.

Felicetti said they’ll spread a sand berm around the house and pray through the next three high tides.

Jared Rattimer’s house was heavily damaged in Superstorm Sandy, and since then he’s lifted the house. So he told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria he’s not worried.

“We’ll get some water in the street, maybe we’ll go kayaking in the street. It’ll be alright,” he said.

But Robert D’Andrea, whose house is across the street from the bay, didn’t have enough money to lift the house, so he’s got his fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

“After Sandy, you just buckle down and do what you can,” he said. “I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.”

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, homeowners along the shoreline in Freeport were battening down the hatches, bringing vehicles to higher ground, and stacking sand bags in preparation for anticipated flooding.

One Freeport resident named Joe is already facing serious problems.

“And I just went in and the pipes froze,” he said. “So, you know, you gotta prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Cuomo said another concern on Long Island is utility lines being brought down by heavy snowfall and tree limbs.

The state is prepared to bring in 400 additional line trucks from other areas of the state if they are needed, Cuomo said.

Since taking over, PSE&G said it has cut outages in half with preventative trimming and has overhauled its customer service and response times.

“We also have an enhanced social media team, we an enhanced our call center. All of that stuff is working to improve the communications for our customers and making things better for us,” said PSE&G Long Island spokesman Jeffrey Weir.

PSE&G, however, also urged residents to remain patient if you do experience an outage since they cannot send a crew up onto a pole to fixed a downed line during blizzard conditions.

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