From the barrier islands to the North Shore, Long Islanders have been dusting off, drying out and trying to get back to normal amid the continuing cleanup efforts after Tropical Storm Irene flooded parts of the Island and sparked widespread power outages this weekend.
Some downed trees left some roads unpassable Monday while dozens of traffic lights were out across Nassau and Suffolk counties. Long Island Rail Road crews were still working to restore full service and more than 270,000 homes and businesses were still without power. Meanwhile, residents were touring the damage themselves amid their personal restoration efforts.
“He’s 90, and I’m 80, so if something had happened to our place during the storm we might not have been able to handle it by ourselves,” said Rose Elliott, who was among those settling into their Long Beach homes Monday. The couple had evacuate to their niece’s in Hempstead.
The damage for many was much less than expected. All the couple lost was cable.
“We evacuated to my brother’s in Connecticut and they lost power, but we had power here,” said Bradley Todd with his wife, Roni.
“The same thing happened in Gloria, we evacuated to Westbury, where they lost power but our home didn’t,” Roni joked. “Long Beach never loses power.”
On the beach, the lifeguard shack that served as a headquarters remained jammed up against the boardwalk, where the storm surge carried it on Sunday. People were taking photos next to the building as crews worked to move sand back down toward the beach and repair the storm damage.
“Aside from the lifeguard headquarters and a few downed trees, it did pretty good,” said Josh Frumer, a Long Beach native whose parents were among those evacuated. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”
While no homes were lost despite multiple cases of waves washing over the dunes on the South Shore, a boat washed up onto land in the Hamptons, docks were destroyed in Lindenhurst and Davis Park on Fire Island, fishing gear littered the streets and a 68-year-old man drowned while windsurfing in Bellport Bay Sunday. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said a 20-foot female minke whale was found dead on the beach in Moriches on Monday.
The Long Island Sound did more damage on the Connecticut side than on LI, but there were still challenges.
“To get to a main road is impossible, there are trees laying everywhere and there’s no barrier so you drive all the way down one road and then have to turn around,” said Jeanette Vicari of Oyster Bay Cove. “This was not taken care of quick enough.”
Criticism of the Long Island Power Authority’s response was widespread, but some offered praise.
“I live on Main street and LIPA and other tree people were so wondeful they had our power back in hours,” said Joan Luisi of Northport.
Others were just lucky.
“There was a ton of damage trees down all over our street crushed cars and downed power lines,” said Nick, of Commack who was checking out the water at Northport Dock with his girlfriend. “We were one of the only ones that had power and we heard a tornado even came through the area. “