Long Island Flash Flood Damage May Top $25M

Long Island Flood
More than a foot of rain soaked Long Island on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (Photo credit: Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)

Record-breaking flash flooding that swamped central Long Island this week is estimated to have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and government facilities, according to unofficial tallies.

After rescue operations transitioned to recovery work, local officials began assessing the damage done and tallying the cost of repairing road washouts, sinkholes and water damage to government buildings. Those estimates combined with the cost of repairing thousands of homes and businesses must reach a total of $25 million to qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants.

“Even though it wasn’t as bad as Sandy, to some people, it was really bad,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told reporters during a news conference Thursday following his tour of Manatuck Lane in Bay Shore, which partially collapsed in the storm.

The senator’s visit came a day after more than 13 inches of rain fell in Ronkonkoma early Wednesday, setting a new record for rainfall in one day in New York State. Similar deluges were recorded from Farmingville to Massapequa, overwhelming drainage systems and turning roads into rivers.

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, told the Press that he expects damage in his municipality to top the FEMA threshold for federal aid, although official tallies were not immediately available. Among the most visible damage in the town was a 24-foot sinkhole in the parking lot of Bay Shore Commons, a road just south of Montauk Highway that partly washed into a canal and forcing the closure of the Suffolk County Brentwood Family Health Center.

“These aren’t the kind of records that residents in our town want to set,” Croci said.

Bay Shore Sinkhole
A 24-foot sinkhole in the parking lot of Bay Shore Commons. The sinkhole was caused by the powerful storm that flooded parts of Long Island. (Photo credit: Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)

A spokesman for the Town of Brookhaven reported that damage is “definitely in the millions,” including dozens of sinkholes as well as damage to town hall and Pennysaver Amphitheater in Farmingville.

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaeffer said that “no hamlet or village was missed by this storm,” but a town spokesman said that the only estimate so far is $4,000 worth of town employee overtime spent pumping out Cedar Beach Marina.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto put his tally at $2,000 in overtime to pump out pedestrian tunnels under Ocean Parkway at Tobay Beach, east of Jones Beach State Park. He’s awaiting a report on whether those tunnels will require structural repairs.

A Nassau County spokeswoman gave an early estimate of $20,000 for worker overtime, but a Suffolk County spokeswoman had no estimates Thursday.

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is coordinating with local officials on flood damage assessments and will then determine what needs residents have and the programs that may be available to meet those needs, officials said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is returning Friday from a trip to Israel, said in a press release that his office has been in touch with FEMA. A FEMA spokesman said Friday the state has not yet asked the agency to send in their assessment teams, but that they are prepared to do so.

A one-stop storm recovery center has been set up at Islip Town Hall West, 401 Main St., 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. this weekend and 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. next Monday through Friday. The state Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center had first arrived Thursday. The agency will also set up at Brookhaven Town Hall and Babylon Town Hall.

Also now on hand at the Islip center are the American Red Cross, the Suffolk Department of Social Services as well as the state Department of Health, and offices of Mental Health, Children and Family Services and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.